In September, Madison Reading Project helped to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Kennedy Heights Community Center by setting up a table to give away 200 books to children and teenagers. The books ranged from board books for young readers to young adult books. Toddlers to high school students came to the table to choose the book they’d like to take home. A few teen-aged girls chose books together so they could trade the books with each other when they finished their book.
Choosing a book was easy for some. They came to the table and knew right away which book would be perfect and they were happy with their choice. For others, it was a very difficult process to decide which book would be the one that they would like the best. Some chose a book and then came back to exchange it for another book. Some made multiple trips to the table before deciding on their favorite. One girl came back to the table repeatedly and had a very difficult time choosing the right book. She tried out multiple books by having us read them aloud to her. Before the day was over, she had chosen and left with her new-found treasure.
The anniversary celebration was a fun day for all ages. There were lawn games, impromptu football games, a delicious lunch, and music and dancing. Many city officials came – from the principal of Lindbergh Elementary, to the superintendent of Madison schools to the mayor. Claude Gilmore, Executive Director of the community center, showed his dance moves and people of all ages began dancing. The event generated a lively atmosphere and showed a cohesive community whose members care for one another.
After all the children had a chance to select a book, the remaining books were donated to the Kennedy Heights Community Center so that those who couldn’t attend would have the opportunity to select the book that would be just right for them.
If you’d like to volunteer with the Madison Reading Project, there are many ways to get involved. You can donate your gently used books. You can sort the books and get them ready for donation. Or you can help at a distribution event. No matter how you choose to volunteer, you’re helping to develop a love of reading in young people in our community. Volunteer Melissa Frank said, " It was so much fun being able to watch kids of all ages getting excited about picking out a new book."