We joined Literacy Connexus . . .
By Ashleigh Bugg, Student.Go Intern
On a hot July day in Weatherford, TX, children cluster around an ordinary bookcase. A few pieces of plywood may not seem like much in the fight against rural poverty, but for kids who have never owned books of their own, it's a portal to worlds they've only imagined.
Center of Hope joined Literacy Connexus. It is a Christ-centered non-profit that works through faith, education, and mentoring to empower citizens of Parker County with the skills needed to break cycles of poverty. One program that supports their mission is Camp Hope.
"We were giving out sack lunches about six or seven years ago when I read a book called When Helping Hurts and realized we were going about serving the wrong way," Community Projects Director Michelle Buchanan said. Now, Camp Hope works to teach children basic skills such as cooking kid-friendly meals, reading, health education, and Bible stories.
The six Camp Hope sites each adapted Books for the Border and Beyond in their own way.
"At our Fox Hollow site, we had men from Couts United Methodist Church come out and teach the kids how to sand and put the bookshelves together. Everybody got to participate. They took great pride and ownership in it," Site Manager Brenda Brechbuhl said.
"It made a huge difference to have a group of men willing to mentor these kids," Michelle added.
Other sites helped the parents get involved by having mothers and fathers paint bookcases alongside their children, to encourage reading at home. "If you're reading with your kids, it's not just educational, it's bonding," Michelle said.
Children gravitated to the bookcases. "We had kids saying that they didn't even realize they liked to read. This helped them learn a level of respect for books," Brenda said.