This Amazing Organization Is Putting Books In The Hands Of So Many RI Kids & Wow

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There’s that famous quote, you know the one about books being uniquely portable magic. Yesterday I happened to go behind the scenes to see some book-related magic happening locally that’s pretty incredible. And for many local children, it could very well be life changing.

I’m speaking about a charitable organization based at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket that’s working to boost children’s literarcy and also encourage a love of reading. It’s called Books Are Wings and their mission is to put free books in the hands of local children from struggling, economically disadvantaged families. Yesterday afternoon I chatted with Paige Clausius-Parks, the Director, took a tour of their space, and found out just how much having - or not having books - in the home impacts young children. According to research on the subject, the long term positives of growing up with them - and being read to during the formative years - include a much higher likelihood of staying in school and of ultimately tossing that tassled cap in the air (aka, graduating from hs).

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Last year alone BAW distributed more than 65K books (donated for the most part from people around the OS) to kids in areas like Pawtucket, East Providence, Central Falls, Woonsocket, and West Warwick. With additional assistance from the Rhody-based travel and tour company Collette, as well as funding from The Rhode Island Foundation, they have been able to partner with area schools on multi-visit events over the course of the academic year. During these visits, they have storytime, craft activities, and children get to pick out 1-2 books to keep and bring back home with them. (The stories of kids hugging the books and being ecstatic about being able to keep them permanently will give you goosebumps! Something so many of us take for granted…) They have also teamed up with community organizations in a number of these same cities and towns to provide what’s known as Book Spots, indoor and outdoor mini library set-ups at local parks and even the DMV where kids can pick out a ‘forever’ book and hopefully carry it forward toward a lifelong love of reading.

If you’re interested in donating books, volunteering a few hours (They sorted thru over 80K donations last year thanks to people just like you who had a few hours to pitch in!) or just finding out more about this amazing non-profit that’s making a difference in the lives of so many youngsters in the OS, go to booksarewings.org.