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Signature Focus: Books for Bethel

August 2016:

On August 11, the Junior League of Athens was awarded with the Clarke County School District’s Four Star Award which recognizes Clarke County School District (CCSD) employees and volunteers who have gone above and beyond. The League was honored for its work in the Bethel community.

“The Junior League of Athens has a long standing interest in the issue of literacy and a desire to know and understand the community they hope to serve. A standing committee of JLA is the Community Advisory Council comprised of various residents of Athens, and this committee worked closely with League members [and the Signature Focus committee in the execution of this project – Books for Bethel.”

-Linda Davis, CCSD Board member

Above, JLA members Jordan Dotson, Christine Smith, JLA President Julie McGinty, Carey Brown Hornsby, and JLA past president Michelle Dickens receive the Four Star Award.

Kudos to the JLA and the Signature Focus committee for their hard work!

 

May 2016:

The Junior League of Athens was proud to host our inaugural “Books for Bethel” project at Bethel Midtown Village. BFB was a two-part venture that followed a Books for Keeps model of distributing summer reading material to elementary aged children living in Bethel Midtown Village in an effort to combat the learning loss suffered by many children when they are not in school.

JLA volunteers lent volunteer time and materials to assist children in creating and decorating a “book box” for book storage throughout the summer. Each child received a neon colored box of their choice and was given a selection of stickers to decorate their box. While the students were decorating and creating, their parents were invited inside the community center to hear from Mimi Elliott-Gower, Family Engagement Specialist at Barrow Elementary, about best practices on engaging their child and reading during the summer months. This first workshop also featured a special appearance by The Lil’ Ice Cream Dude who distributed ice cream cones and popsicles to children in attendance. This project hit close to home for the Lil’ Ice Cream Dude because his father grew up in the Bethel Midtown Village community.

The following week, the Junior League distributed over 500 books to 85 elementary aged students living in the Bethel community. Students arrived to the community center and were greeted by a Junior League volunteer who assisted them in selecting six books to take home. Children who were not in attendance were packed a bag with pre-selected books for Mimi to take back to Barrow Elementary to distribute prior to the end of school. The League had several books leftover, so a few middle school-aged students and preschool-aged children were able to pick out a book or two to take home as well.

The feedback the Signature Focus Committee received from students, parents, and other League members was invaluable. It was a truly rewarding experience for all involved, and it is my hope that this project will continue to sustain itself and students will receive summer reading material for many years to come.