25 Days of Giving: Day 18

Giving the gift of reading to children on Day 18...

Yesterday we gave the wonderful gift of reading to children in Hartford.

Pulling up in front of the Charter Oak Cultural Center, the girls and I hopped out while my husband found a parking spot out front. It’s a beautiful and old brick building (actually an historic landmark, built in 1876), which brings arts to the community, regardless of income, for all to enjoy. With art performances, musical concerts, films and more, over 100 events are hosted throughout the year, and open to all.  It is also home to the Youth Arts Institute, an after-school and summer arts and literacy-based program, open to Hartford children, ages 6-18.

A friend of mine had led to me Charter Oak when I told her I had some children’s books which needed a new home. We absolutely love books, and I love giving books as gifts, but sometimes it’s necessary to pass them along- especially when your children’s shelves are absolutely stuffed and it becomes more and more difficult to find a place for all of them. Yes, it was time to donate some.

I had actually never heard of the Center, and when I reached out to see if they could use some books, Katie Hanley, Director of the Arts Institute, responded almost immediately, with an excited YES! They were actually in the process of building their in-house library for the students, and the books would be a great addition.  Great, I thought-but then, I thought… how could our 10 books fill a library? I decided we needed help.

Just about the same time, a friend from the JCC Sharks (my daughter’s swim team) asked if ever had a project or knew of a charity the team could help with to please let her know, as the Shark families might like to participate. Perfect timing! She liked our idea of a book drive, and shared it with the families, who were so very generous. We collected at the JCC all weekend long, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the number of books which were donated!  We are so grateful to the Sharks for joining our family in this endeavor. Over 200 books were donated!

Katie met us outside and helped us unload the books. We brought them into the gallery, where we met three of the children in the program. They were so sweet, as they helped us stack the books into piles, picking out their favorites. The girls handed out candy canes, as well, so between the books and the sweets, it was a lovely evening! A  very special THANK YOU to all the Sharks families for donating books this weekend! Your books will be read again and again, and put a smile on some little faces…  

How you canhelp: Charter Oak Cultural Center, located at 21 Charter Oak Ave in Hartford, is a wonderful resource for children and adults. To set up a drive, contact Katie Hanley at KatieH@charteroakcenter.org. Financial donations support the many programs Charter Oak holds throughout the year. Click here to donate online:  http://www.charteroakcenter.org/index.php/2012/12/we-need-your-support. ALL DONATIONS WILL BE MATCHED from an anonymous donor every dollar given from until Jan. 31st.


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