Girl Scouts of Trailways Council Troop #146 is a group of nine first-grade girls from Joliet, Ill. They collected new and used children’s books from November 1-25, 2002 (which coincides with National Children’s Book Week) and gave them to Will County area agencies to help promote reading in children. The motto of “Together we can make it happen” was used to help pull the troop members and their community together.
The troop contacted three agencies in Will County that provide services for children. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Catholic Charities Headstart Mobile Library and the Guardian Angel Home. To help support the drive, and involve the community, the troop contacted the Cunningham Grade School Principal, the Joliet Public Library, the City of Joliet and the Joliet Police Department. They then contacted a local storage facility business and received boxes with which to make receptacles. The designed flyer was given to the Principal, who had them copied and sent to each student as a home handout. A press release was given to the local paper and an article ran in the community section on October 27,2002.
On November 26,2002 the troop counted and sorted all the books received. The final count of books collected was 1,981. They sorted the books into two categories of easy and hard readers and boxed them for distribution. While delivering the books, they talked with individuals in charge. They wanted to know what the books would be used for and if there was any other help needed. They discovered that DCFS is using the books to start a new reading room and distribute amongst their day care centers. Catholic Charities is using the books to start up a mobile library program and a young reader’s program. The Guardian Angel home is using the books for several programs such as tutoring and after school reading programs. A new press release was given to the local paper and an article was published December 15, 2002.
This project brought a community together to help fight illiteracy. They thanked the Joliet Public Library who donated books from their basement collection, Joliet City Hall who handled all questions from the public, the Joliet Police Department who helped by loading the books when they were picked up by the troop, Cunningham Grade School, their classmates and the community itself. Through this drive, GSTC Troop #146, the City of Joliet, and Will County showed that reading does matter. By putting books into the hands of kids and helping implement current and new reading programs the whole community benefits.
Today they are still receiving book donations. To date the number of books collected is 2,258 books. Each member of the Troop #146 has given 15 hours of time towards this project and the troop intends to follow up by visiting the places that received the books.