Westmoor Junior Girl Scouts collect books for low-income children
Girl Scout Troop 41263 member Gemma Abbott (left), 10, and her mom and troop leader Athena Abbott (right) organize and count books that the troop collected during a book drive for Bernie's Book Bank on Friday (Nov. 4), at Westmoor School in Northbrook. |
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:59AM
When a group of Junior Girl Scouts at Westmoor School were looking for a way to help the community, they hit on a project that would help young children not as fortunate as they are.
The fifth-graders in Junior Girl Scout Troop 41263 got their entire school involved in collecting books for Bernie’s Book Bank, a nonprofit organization that provides books for children in low-income neighborhoods in the Chicago area.
“They really took to the idea,” said Meghan Rosenfeld, assistant troop leader. “I am really proud of the girls.”
The community service project was the culmination of a two-year process that will allow the girls to earn their Bronze Award, the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can achieve.
Rosenfeld said they started last year organizing and planning the project.
“It’s a two-year process to earn the Bronze Award,” Rosenfeld said. “The focus is on community service.”
The mission of Bernie’s Book Bank is to collect, process and redistribute quality new and gently used children’s books to increase book ownership among at-risk infants, toddlers and school age children living throughout the Chicago area.
According to the book bank, there is a ratio of approximately one book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods. Children served by the program receive six books at a time and a minimum of 12 a year.
Rosenfeld said Westmoor has held a book collection in the past, but the Scouts wanted to take it over and make it bigger and more successful than in previous years.
They set a goal of collecting 2,500 books to donate to Bernie’s.
“They really took ownership of the book drive,” Rosenfeld said.
The girls created posters for each grade level at the school using rockets to take the place of thermometers to show the progress of the book collection. The girls visited classrooms to promote the project and made regular announcements on the school public address system.
Rosenfeld said they also spent time after school collecting the books from each classroom, sorting them and getting them ready for last Friday’s pickup by the organization.
It was a lot of work, Rosenfeld said, but paid off when the girls were able to collect 3,424 books, far more than their goal.
“For eight girls to collect more than 3,400 books was really phenomenal,” Rosenfeld said.
While the collection has been successful, Rosenfeld said the girls plan to do more work on the project.
The next step, she said, will be to travel to Libertyville where Bernie’s is located so they can help sort books by grade level and get them ready for distribution to the children. In addition, she said, the girls are hoping to go on a trip to help give out the books at a school.
“It really was a lovely think to do,” Rosenfeld said of the project. “This is an important project that will improve the lives of a lot of children.”