A note from Jennifer:
First, we hope that you and your families are all doing well and staying safe. This time has been challenging in so many ways, and our thoughts are with you as we all work to navigate this complicated world.
Our mission is to engage ALL South Sound children in the joy and promise of books and reading, ALL. We do this through our programs, particularly by getting books to children. And over the past few years we have been intentional about diversifying our collection so that the children and families we serve can see and feel themselves and their communities in the stories we share. This includes our Black children and families because we know that Black Lives Matter.
We also believe in the power of reading. It is transformational. It is the key to a child’s access to education. This is why we are committed to our mission. Reading informs and inspires us. And this summer and beyond we are coming together as an organization to read and learn about hidden biases and systematic racism. We also plan to read, learn, discuss, and reflect on our mission and our programs to see if there are more effective, inclusive, and intentional ways we could be serving our community.
We believe in inclusion. Our space is a safe space for everyone and we welcome you. If you would like to be a part of our group and participate in these discussions, please let us know. You are welcome here. If you have other thoughts, concerns, or resources you would like us to consider, please share them. We are always interested in discovering new ways to learn and grow.
We believe we are here to serve our community. We customize our programming to best meet its needs. When the pandemic began we quickly pivoted our program to address the emergent need for books and family friendly activities. With schools and libraries closed, families, especially those with limited resources, were desperate for books and activities to do with their children. In response we quickly created virtual reading programs for families and a book ordering program to get books to children. Now these children have regular access to free, clean, age-appropriate and interest-matched books. We may be using this service model once again to pivot our program as we learn about systemic racism, hidden biases and consider how we might better meet our mission and serve our community. We are excited for the challenge. It will strengthen us and make us a better organization.
Finally for the families we serve, this is a moment and an opportunity for us all to listen and learn. The combination of the pandemic and the exposure of systemic racism gives us an opportunity to raise our children’s awareness. There are several resources listed below that may help guide your thinking about discussions in your home. And since we are the Reading Foundation and we believe in the power of reading, we’ve also included some diversity book lists below.
Please, please take care of yourself and each other.
-Your South Sound Reading Foundation family.
Book Lists for Children and Families:
Some resources for talking with kids about racism:
Drive-Thru Book Drive Continues!
There's still time to donate books gently used children's books in support of local kids - especially beginning reader and Spanish language books. Our donation process is simple, quick, and safe. Staff collect donations from donor’s cars in a low-contact drop off - like a charitable drive-thru! These books will be thoroughly cleaned and given away through one of SSRF's programs.Visit the event page or contact us for more details.
June 12th, 2020 was our first ever GiveBooks day. We accepted an estimated 3,425 children's books, from baby books to teen novels - thank you all!
Bag-o-Books Returns in Phase Two
We've shared 735 free books directly with families so far! If you know someone who would benefit, please direct them here to request books for the whole family: https://form.jotform.com/201476922685160
- We're handling requests in the order received, and so far have been able to fill requests within a week of ordering.
- Books can then be picked up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 10am and 3pm at our office: 200 Sleater-Kinney Rd NE Olympia, WA 98506.
- Books will be in a bag marked with their name on a cart outside our door. This minimizes unnecessary contact while still providing services for our community.
We hope these books find their way to families truly in need, and we encourage those who are able to purchase books instead support our local booksellers.
Volunteers - stay connected!
In an effort to stay connected with our volunteers, we've shared email greetings and well-wishes, and happily received updates about their reading lists and gardening projects. In the interest of keeping connected, as well as facilitating connections between volunteers, we have also created a SSRF Volunteers Facebook Group for volunteers to talk to us and each other!
RSVP to our warehouse moving party, June 29 at 10:00am by emailing Rebecca at email@example.com
Sponsor Spotlight: Thank you all, for sharing your love of reading with us!
Many thanks to these generous community businesses, organizations, and service clubs whose support is helping us collect and share books with children this month:
Get in touch!
South Sound Reading Foundation