In preparation for the upcoming school year, CEFS Head Start is introducing “The Book Project” to replenish the dwindling supply of tattered and worn out books in the Head Start lending libraries.
Offered in every Head Start classroom and each Early Head Start region, the lending library gives children the opportunity to take books home and share with their families.
Currently, Head Start’s book supply contains only a few books, many in terrible condition.
“Many of the books are torn, stained, and full of scribbles after years of use by children,” said Head Start Director Connie Jerden.
Head Start is asking for donated books for the lending libraries in 16 Head Start preschool centers and seven Early Head Start regions.
“Our goal is to add more than 3,000 new or gently used books to the Head Start classrooms and 700 books to the Early Head Start program,” said HR/PR Specialist Tracy Dennis.
“It’s a daunting task, but with the help and generosity of the community, I know it can be done.”
Books are great, but books alone won’t nurture a child’s budding literacy skills.
“We need volunteers too,” said Dennis.
“Volunteering can be as fun and as easy as reading books to students in our Head Start classrooms or helping organize the lending libraries.”
Participating in “The Book Project” does more than just refurbish Head Start’s lending libraries.
“Head Start is fortunate to have the backing of federal funds,” said Jerden, “but those funds are conditional on a 20-percent match of third-party contributions from the community. Any donated books or volunteer hours will count toward that match.”
The lending libraries are important and children throughout the Head Start program rely heavily on them.
“The sad truth,” said Early Head Start manager Nicole Gardewine “is that our lending libraries are the only access many of our children have to books.
“We think every child deserves the opportunity to foster a lifetime love of reading.”
CEFS Head Start 0-5 Program is a free, federally-funded program that provides services to pregnant women and children ages 0-5 that meet the federal income guidelines for enrollment.
For more information on donations and volunteering, call 217-342-2193, ext. 132.