By Mary Rae Hunter
As many of you already know, in my former life I was a teacher in both the Durham and Chapel Hill Public Schools. In that capacity, I had the opportunity to share the gift of reading with many children throughout the community. Fortunately, I have remained in touch with the cultural importance of reading by way of activities in which we involve ourselves at Urban Durham.
Urban Durham Realty has a strong commitment to the local community. As part of our commitment, we have collaborated with Durham Public Schools to collect books for the BookMark Progam. In fact, we believed that this would become a community tradition. Sadly, the DPS BookMark program is no longer actively seeking books. By good luck, however I just learned about another local non-profit that is working to provide a book-rich home environment for Triangle children growing up in poverty. The name of the non-profit is Book Harvest (www.bookharvest.org). Their mission is to place 10,000 books in the hands of needy children throughout the community by Martin Luther King Day.
Look how far your donated dollar will go! From their website comes the following:
$25: enables us to provide 50 donated books to low-income children for free.
$50: enables us to enroll five elementary school children in Books on Break, taking home ten books each to keep at the start of summer. These books can serve as a type of "vaccination" against summer learning loss, helping their new owners return to school in the fall ready to resume learning where they left off.
$100: enables us to keep one Books For Free bookshelf stocked with books for a whole month.
$250: enables us to enroll an entire class of elementary school children in Books on Break, with each child selecting ten books to take home and keep at the start of summer.
$500: enables us to provide 1,000 donated books to low-income children through Books For Free.
$600: enables us to keep one Books For Free bookshelf stocked with books for six months.
$1,200: full sponsorship of a Books For Free bookshelf for a year! This level includes a sign on the shelf with the name of the donor or honoree. Update 11/27/12: one bookshelf sponsored for 2013! Eleven remaining.
So, just as with our previous commitment to Durham’s reading and book program, we can come together once again to share the cultural importance of reading with others less fortunate. So if you look around the house and find spare books that you think children could benefit from, you can help by delivering your books to Urban Durham Realty for delivery to Book Harvest, or by making a monetary donation as seen on their website by January 7, 2013.
Through community efforts to help children to read, we hope to improve the minds of countless young people—with the indispensable critical, imaginative thinking and knowledge-based skills obtained by reading. I hope you will consider donating.