It began when one of us was at a Salvation Army decorating for Christmas lunch. There was a stack of scrap paper behind the desk that said, "Give to children while they wait." That night, the creative juices began to flow.
Knowing the importance of language and literacy in children's lives, and the dire lack of both for children in poverty, this project was born.
PoWeR! stands for Play, Write, and Read! We find it is also a great way to demonstrate the role that language and literacy play in the lives of children.
We are a Volunteer Organization in Lower Northern Michigan. We began in March of 2016 and are currently operating at twenty sites with our Original Book Bag Project. We have expanded to include four additional literacy give-away programs. As our pool of volunteers and literacy supplies grows, so too, does our reach. We want to positively impact as many children and families as we are able!
For the Original Book Bag Project, we create bags of literacy and take them to food and baby pantries (and sometimes community events when invited). When children and their families come to feed their bellies, the children also select books and book bags with a puppet and writing materials to feed their minds.
At each future visit, the children are invited to collect more books and writing supplies, like trick-or-treat for literacy. PoWeR! book bags are intended to be tools for building language and literacy with children and their families as they play, write, and read with the materials.
Our mission is twofold: to increase children's language and literacy experiences AND to grow the number of books in their personal collections. Research strongly supports both of these goals as ways to help children become successful literate members of society.
Let's help children grow to be the best that they can be, one book (and book bag) at a time!