Children ran around rows of tables with white plastic bags nearly bursting with books at a Toledo Public Schools and Books 4 Buddies event on Tuesday.
The event, held at Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Weiler Homes on Fassett Street, welcomed all families, especially residents of the public housing development.
Various members of TPS and Books 4 Buddies offered a free lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs, free vision screening, and arts and crafts. The main purpose of the event, however, was to spread the word about early childhood education.
PHOTO GALLERY: Book giveaway and cookout
Hope Bland, a social worker for TPS, was on hand to help parents register their children for one of TPS’s newest programs, Head Start. “We have well over 800 families interested,” she said, noting that families will be selected based on certain criteria.
Head Start is a federal program that provides early education for children from birth to age 5 from low-income families. A TPS-led community collaborative was awarded a five-year grant worth $8.1 million annually in May. Another table was set up to allow families to register children for the upcoming school year for all grades, kindergarten through 12th grade.
Several families showed enthusiasm for the efforts of TPS. Chasity Strauder, a Weiler Homes resident, said, “I think it’s an excellent idea. I’m an educator myself so I know the importance of literacy. Without those skills, you can’t do much.”
Ms. Strauder has not yet decided where to send her 3-year-old son, Joshua, for school. This TPS event provided her with some resources in the meantime. “I got some books and materials on literacy, which are an asset to things he’s already learning,” she said.
James Gault, the executive transformational leader for TPS, said the event was the district‘s third of five so far.
Several Books 4 Buddies ambassadors handed out new and gently used books to children. Books 4 Buddies president and co-founder, Laneta Goings, said her group has collected more than 200,000 books. She and the ambassadors brought “close to 1,000” of those books to Tuesday’s event. “A lot of these kids have never owned a book. So it’s brought a lot of joy, a lot of satisfaction,” she said.
TPS has two more literacy events scheduled. On Saturday, Councilman Tyrone Riley will host a Diving into Literacy event from noon to 2 p.m. at Willys Park Pool at 1375 Hillcrest Ave. On Aug. 9, Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, TPS Superintendent Romules Durant, and members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host an event from 1 to 3 p.m. at Birmingham Terrace.
Contact Kathleen Ashcraft at: email@example.com or 419-724-6050.