Happy Summer!

June 2021

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Time to Share Great News!

Hello and Happy Summer! There are literally so many good things happening in our organization, it is difficult to find the right place to start – and to not “talk” for too long!

Thanks, in advance, for reading this. We hope it brings some smiles to your face.

Summer Literacy Give-Aways

First, during the end of school Summer Literacy Give-Aways, we hit a major milestone. To date, we have distributed OVER 200,000 books to children since we began PoWeR! Book Bags in 2016! In June alone, we distributed over 15,000 books. That is a lot of titles going into the hands of children in Michigan!!

Thanks to our many volunteers, every child in participating schools left for the summer with books and writing booklets in hand. While we aren’t having official programming this summer, we continue to give books away through all of our interested partners at their events.


Congratulations, Kallie!

Our Front Street Writers Intern, Kallie, has graduated (as the co-valedictorian of her class!). We are sad to see her go, as she brought great enthusiasm, creativity, and intellect into all of her work. She helped us increase some of the information on our website about the importance of Playing, Writing, and Reading. Visit the “LEARN MORE” tab on our website to see her work! Huge thanks to Kallie!

Collaboration with inspiREading

We have an exciting new collaboration with inspiREading, which is a program developed by the Great Start Collaborative of Mason, Lake and Oceana Counties through the Westshore ESD. The inspiREading website offers parents strategies and video demonstrations to help them assist their children with reading. It is thrilling to have this set of tools to share with parents to complement the materials we provide!

(There is a link on our website under the 'learn more' tab.)


Thank You, Meijer!

In other news, our friends at Meijer have really come through this year! We asked for the opportunity to purchase a large quantity of crayons during the back to school days. Instead, they offered us that same quantity at a charity cost! AND when we inquired about composition books, they again invited us to purchase at the charity cost. We were blown away.

Within a week of that call, 15,000 boxes of crayons and 15,000 composition books arrived at the Meijer in Ludington. Our friends at HELP Ministries once again allowed us to borrow their truck for delivery. Our partners from the Elks in Muskegon met us at Meijer and followed us to the Ludington storage site where – during a pouring rainstorm – they unloaded the crayons.

The next day, the truckload of composition books arrived in Suttons Bay. There, our “Good Samaritan” neighbor brought his forklift over and ferried the heavy boxes up to the building. Then, 12 strong volunteers moved the supplies into our storage area. It was quite a sight to see!

We are filled with gratitude for each and every person it took to acquire and move these supplies! Starting with EVERYONE at MEIJER: Megan, her store manager-Jeremy, Steve- the forklift driver, and the masterful service desk ladies who made the transaction for 30,000 items work like magic!-- To our Elks friends --To Larry at HELP-- To Kathy and Lee, our driving team -- To everyone on the Suttons Bay receiving end! – Children will have writing materials for another year thanks to you AND to the donations and grants used to fund this purchase! Our most sincere thanks go out to all.

Visit our Facebook page (or the live feed on our website) for more photos!

Packing for WIC & Rebuilding Inventory

Our work for the summer has not ended. It is now time to pack and deliver materials to the children and families who receive WIC services through our 10-county health department partners. Every time families receive their services at WIC (ranging from 2-4 times a year, depending on the location), they will receive a packet of books, writing booklets, and, once a year, one of our lovely homemade literacy bags packed with a finger puppet, crayons, and writing booklets. Sending literacy materials into the homes of these children, who are birth to age 5, is a VERY big step in helping these early learners become language RICH! (Research shows that children with rich language experiences, which occur during interactions with play, conversations, and reading books, perform much better academically and throughout their lives.)

There is MUCH to be done! We have books to prep and package, bags to fill, and deliveries to be made! So far, there are about 5,500 children we will be working with through WIC, and more are expected. Anyone interested in coming to the Volunteer Center (101 Dame St. Suttons Bay) is welcome. Bring your own table and chair (and a friend or two) and work either in the sun or under a covered roof while enjoying the views and breezes of Suttons Bay. One of our volunteers this week commented, “This is a remarkable place to volunteer. I just watched a tall ship and a freighter on the water. I feel like I’m on vacation!”

When you visit our Volunteer Center, you will see many beautiful books and it may look as if we don’t need more. However, these are all spoken for – and our inventory flows into the Volunteer Center and out into the community like water! We are continuously purchasing, processing, and delivering books. This means we ALWAYS need your help as volunteers and donors to literally fuel our project!

Please consider making a donation today to help us purchase the books in our waiting shopping cart!

Make a Donation

The Volunteer Center is OPEN!

Our site is open:

Monday 11-1,

Tuesday 10-1,

Wednesday 11-3, and

Thursday 10-1. 

*We are not open the week of July 4th*

Looking for another way to volunteer? We STILL need homemade book bags! We are more than halfway to our goal for WIC … AND we also need them for the pantries and sites of family service and Early Head Start programs!

This work is not always easy or glamorous, but it makes all the difference to the children and families we serve.

For some, it brings the thrill of a new book – a new adventure or an escape.

For others, it is new writing materials because, in the words of a second grader, “I didn’t have anything to write or draw with at home, and now I do!”

For others, it is the FUN of a puppet who can move and talk and act out all kinds of things, bringing smiles and interaction.

For others, it is pride and joy at receiving a beautiful bag filled with literacy treats! This was demonstrated by the little girl that took her book bag to the bus stop and carefully placed it on the bench, smoothing it out, peeking inside, clapping her hands, dancing around, and repeating until the bus arrived.

Thanks for being a part of it all. Everyone working together creates the PoWer! of our organization. We appreciate your time, energy, and monetary support.

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As we roll into July, we wish you a very HAPPY Fourth of July!

Be safe, well and HAPPY!

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