This RI Organization Gives Books To So Many Kids & The Story Will Warm Your Heart
There’s that famous quote, you know the one about books being “uniquely portable magic.” Not long ago I got to go behind the scenes to see some pretty incredible book-related magic happening locally. And for so many Rhody children, it’s life changing!
I’m talking 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. Paige Clausius-Parks, the Director, gave me a tour of their space, and it was then that I 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).
During 2016 - 2017 BAW distributed more than 40K 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 to 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 towards a lifelong love of reading.
If you’re interested in donating books, volunteering a few hours (They sort thru thousands of donations every 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 celebrating 20 years of making a difference in the lives of so many youngsters in the OS, go to booksarewings.org.
Photo Credits: Books Are Wings logo courtesy of their site.
**This post has been updated and revised from one that first appreared on the blog ly.