At each meeting, an envelope is passed around for donations to its Books for Children reading fund. These donations are not dues and are totally voluntary. Joyce Tisovec has kindly agreed to collect and be keeper of the money. At the end of the year, the amount of money collected for the year is determined, and early in the new year, the club awards a check for the amount collected to the Sumter County Pre-K program (children who have been evaluated using the Florida Assessment Test and have been deemed not ready to enter a standard school program yet). Many of these children are from very poor families.
The Pre-K program's goal for every child in the program is to prepare the child for a standard school program so they can succeed in school and life, and to have them leave the program with a love of reading and learning. The sad reality is that once a child falls behind, he or she usually stays behind forever. The money collected from groups like ours helps provide sets of books for the classrooms and children in the program, buy used books at yard and book sales and clean them up for reuse (e.g., erase pencil marks), as well as provide books to children participating in Sumter County's Literacy Night to promote literacy and a love of reading for children as part of a Children's Week celebration. Last year, they provided free books to about 200 kids who were able to get to the event.
The program also accepts donations of children's books that are new or gently used, with firm covers that will hold up over time. (see Alphabet books like Dr. Seuss are greatly appreciated (also see 50 Books A Child Should Read Before Kindergarten). They sort out books for the Pre-K children, then distribute the rest to the appropriate grade-level schools in the county. Book donations can be brought to the Lynnhaven Ladies Book Club meeting the 1st Thursday in February when the club presents its annual donation to the Sumter County Pre-K program. Otherwise, contact Jeanne Harris-Lively (click on link for email address), the Sumter County Pre-K Social Worker, to find out where you can deliver them or how else you can help, or ask her about the BookWorks program.
The Sumter County School Board is always happy to partner with community groups that want to make a difference in the lives of children... groups like ours, who understand the importance and essential role that reading and school libraries play in the lives of children and their futures. And with Florida State Legislators continuing to slash funding for education, help from groups like ours helps and is appreciated. Please give generously.