On Oct. 10 Team First Book/Hood River County awarded five book grants to local literacy programs:

  • Cascade Locks Preschool $149 (about 60 books)
  • Klahre House Alternative School $312 (about 124 books)
  •  ExCEL After School Program $2340 (about 936 books)
  •  Oregon Child Development Coalition $1,800 (about 720 books)
  • May Street Elementary ESL Program $1,285 (about 514 books)

The total funds given was $5,836, which will bring about 2,344 new books to 661 Hood River County low income children, said a press release.

The ExCEL program is at Mid Valley and Parkdale elementary schools, Wy’east Middle School and Cascade Locks School.

Funding and impacts

The board received $1,500 from United Way of the Columbia Gorge and $4,436 in donations. The First Book Board thanks the community for their support of the First Book local literacy effort, said coordinator Nancy Johanson Paul. She cited these First Book experiences from three parents and a teacher:

  •  A two-year-old child received a book on breathing: The mom told her home visitor that whenever her toddler was having a “tantrum,” mom would grab the book and sit with the toddler, picking a story and then doing the breathing exercise taught in that story. Mom said it really helped with the toddler’s heightened emotions but also with her own overwhelming moments.
  • One mother of a medically fragile toddler was quoted saying, “This book is one of his favorites, he likes to bring the book with us when we drive in the car and go to doctor appointments. We have read it now at least 200 times.”

The next Team First Book book grants will be given out January 2020. The donations are tax deductible through the 5013c nonprofit national First Book effort in Washington, D.C., where all funds are sent twice a year.

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed. For more information on First Book, contact Johanson Paul at 541-490-5330 or nancypaul@gorge.net. Tax deductible donations can be sent to Team First Book/Hood River County, PO Box 221, Hood River, OR 97031. 

Any funds sent to the national First Book office will be used for their nation-wide effort rather than specifically in Hood River County.

The community can help raise funds by holding birthday parties honoring the mission of First Book, to buy book ownership stickers in memory or honor of a loved one, to have fundraisers to generate funds for literacy of children, or to have a First Book display in a business giving the opportunity for patrons to buy First Book book ownership stickers for $3 each book sticker.

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