April 2017
Dr. Finck stands with a few of the 560 children
sponsored through My Home Library in March.
Dear Houston Community

You've likely heard the saying "April showers bring May flowers." Did you know that it's origination has been traced as far back as the 1300s in the work of Geoffrey Chaucer's famous Canterbury Tales? The most common meaning depicts the science of the spring cycle-when the rain of April causes plants to produce flowers that we enjoy in May. There is another interpretation of the proverb that speaks to the value of patience and optimism in our lives-that turbulent or difficult times can often bring to bear happiness and joyful times.

It's been incredible to witness how many generous people have stepped up to serve as volunteers and contribute in meaningful ways to bring happiness and joyful times to those who are experiencing hard times in their lives because they do not have the requisite literacy skills. In fact, 1 in 5 Houston adults are functionally illiterate and 1 in 4 area 3 rd-graders fail to meet minimum reading proficiency levels year after year, putting them at great risk of becoming a drop out.

Small acts of kindness and generosity can go a very long way in the life of someone in need. I invite you to join us in April to ensure that more children and families can enjoy the flowers of May by doing one of or more of the following things: (1) become a member of our Ladies for Literacy Guild or Young Professionals Group; (2) sponsor a home library for a disadvantaged child through My Home Library; or (3) attend the 23 rd annual A Celebration of Reading on April 20 th at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Thank you for your support and for recognizing that you can make a meaningful difference in someone's life.

Happy Spring!

With warm regards,

Julie Baker Finck, Ph.D.
Meet Passion

Meet Passion, a shy, 10-year-old girl with a beautiful smile. She and her 11-year-old brother, Brandon, live with their mother, grandmother, and great grandmother in an apartment in Houston's Historic Third Ward. According to Passion's grandmother, the family has very few books in their home and the nearest public library is 30 minutes from where they live. There are simply too many barriers the family faces to visit the library. Having books in the home would allow Passion and Brandon "to read more often and learn new words," says their grandmother.

Passion's favorite subjects in school are math and reading, and in her free time she loves to roller blade and draw. Like Brandon and the other children who attend Blackshear Elementary School, Passion would like to have her very own home library so that she may enjoy reading at home, especially during the summer months when her school is closed. Through our My Home Library initiative, Passion created a wish list of six new books she would love to read and keep, including Disney-Pixar's Inside Out, Goosebumps, Little Mermaid and Other Stories, and The Adventures of Captain Underpants.

Silver Eagle Distributors and Bud Light to Host
Bud Light Gives to Houston Event on May 11th

On Thursday, May 11 from 6-8 p.m., America's leading beer brand, Bud Light - together with local distributor Silver Eagle Distributors, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation - is encouraging young professionals to volunteer their time to assemble home libraries for children in need. This volunteer initiative is part of a series of volunteer events hosted by Bud Light and Silver Eagle Distributors designed to bring local residents together for hands-on projects that give back to various charitable organizations throughout Houston.
During the event, which will support the Foundations' My Home Library initiative, volunteers will sort and bag nearly 10,000 books specifically chosen by children in three Houston area schools - Blackshear Elementary, Browning Elementary, and Treasure Forest Elementary School - for their own home libraries. 

Immediately following the community service project, there will be an after party complete with food from local food trucks, music, games, and ice cold Bud Light! We invite you and your friends to join us. All volunteers must be 21 years of age or older to participate. Space is limited. 

Click below for event details and to sign up.
Ladies for Literacy Book Drive Tops 10,000

Led by Co-Chairs Deborah Stavis and Anne Taylor, the Ladies for Literacy Guild's inaugural book drive quickly grew into an amazing grass roots affair that engaged many Guild members, their families, friends, co-workers, and the community at large. The book drive kicked off on February 15 th at the Guild's annual meeting and ended on March 4 th. During this time, members collected donated books from family and friends, their children's schools, retail outlets, and other creative ways.  With the unparalleled help of Boy Scout Troups 55, 836 and 837, over 10,000 books were picked up from 5 Houston Public Library branches and delivered for storage and sorting to the Harris County Public Library. These books are earmarked for the Curiosity Cruiser and for future distribution to our literacy partners. Many thanks to the Guild members who participated in the book drive and the many donors across the city who contributed new and gently used books.
From left: ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance, Regan Dittmar, Victoria Villarreal, and Foundation Chairman Neil Bush.
ConocoPhillips CEO Hosts YPG 
Networking Event 

The Young Professionals Groups of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation joined ConocoPhillips' New Hire Network on March 8 th to hear from ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance and Foundation Chairman Neil Bush. The networking event took place at the ConocoPhillips headquarters in Houston and was attended by nearly 70 young professionals who interacted with the two leaders on a range of topics from career advice to the importance of literacy in the future of Houston. The attendees were exposed to new ways in which they could serve in their communities and play an active role in improving the lives and children and their families. The YPG event was yet another showcase of the many social and professional opportunities and benefits available to its members.

Stay tuned for more information on our next networking event that will be held in partnership with Love Advertising Founder and CEO Brenda Love at the company's new 16,000 square foot office space in the Heights. Love Advertising has generously partnered with the Foundation's Ladies for Literacy Guild on designing a one-of-a-kind 30-foot mobile library, called Curiosity Cruiser, that will be donated to the Harris County Public Library and hit the streets this summer to serve children in high need communities. YPG members will network with their peers and the team at Love Advertising and gain insights into some of the creative aspects of advertising.
Houston RocketsĀ® and ReliantĀ® Team Up to Support Reading

The Houston Rockets Women's Organization and ReliantĀ® are teaming up during the first round of the NBA Playoffs to host a book drive to benefit the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation's Ladies for Literacy Guild and our many literacy partners. The more than 18,000 fans who will attend the designated home game held at Toyota Center are being asked to bring new or gently used children's books with them to donate. Fans will receive a raffle ticket for every book donated for a chance to win incredible packages from players Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverly, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and James Harden. The goal of the book drive is to collect more than 11,000 books to place in the hands of children in need across Houston. 
Children in Houston's North Side Benefit During Spring Break

Legacy Community Health's Maria Cantu works with children at one of the many creation stations.
On March 18 th, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation along with partners, the Children's Museum of Houston, Legacy Community Health, Harris Country Public Library, Houston Public Library, and iWRITE hosted a Family Literacy Festival at Houston Housing Authority Kelly Village. With the help of our Young Professionals Group, these partners provided literacy based activities as part of Read Aloud Month. Over 80 residents joined us to take part in read alouds, a comic book creation station, Lego robotics demonstrations, a bookmark creation station, literacy related games and more! Children who participated in the activities were given books to take home so that they could grow their own libraries. In partnership with the Houston Housing Authority, the Foundation also dedicated a library of 500 books to the facility's community center to serve all residents. Thank you to our partners and volunteers for making this event a success!
Child proudly shows off her tattoo.
Read Aloud Night
at the Museum

On March 30th, we teamed up with the Children's Museum of Houston to host special literacy event in recognition of the last day of National Read Aloud Month. Packed with 90,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, the Children's Museum of Houston offers free family nights every Thursday. To make this event even more special, local author Varsha Bajaj read her book, This Is Our Baby, Born Today, along with two other books to the children. Foundation volunteers distributed information to parents and fun items to the children, including bookmarks, magnets and tattoos, to remind them to read aloud every day for at least 15 minutes. In addition, the Foundation presented the Children's Museum of Houston a check in the amount of $77,500 to support summer reading and family literacy initiatives. Funding for the programs are provided in partnership with Phillips 66 and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Children with Youth Development Center display
the books they received.