Chicagoland Goddard Schools partner with Bernie’s Book Bank to donate books to underserved youth in Chicago

Lake County’s Goddard Schools are teaming up with Bernie’s Book Bank, a charity organization dedicated to collecting and providing books to children in need, to sponsor a book drive that will donate its collection to children and families in need in Chicago.

The book drive, held at Goddard School locations in Lake County, began in mid-January and will run until March 1.

The Goddard School is a year-round childcare franchise that owns schools throughout the country, primarily serving children up until the age of pre-K, that follow a play-based curriculum, using manipulative materials and sensory, hands-on activities to teach, according to Deerfield Goddard School owner Jane Faynshteyn. She said some schools serve children up to 12 years old for before- and after-school programs.

“Goddard is very involved in literacy, and that's one of the biggest parts of our program. Anytime there's a big topic coming out, we have a big display and our kids are free to borrow those books,” Faynshteyn said. “They're just surrounded by books.”

The 29 Goddard Schools in the Chicago area are going on their 11th year in partnering with Bernie’s for a local book drive. Donations can be dropped off at any of the schools.

Faynshteyn said the goal this year is 25,000 books. In the past 10 years of the book drive, they have collected 270,000 books.

She also said Bernie's has distributed more than 25 million books through Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

“When children don't have access to books, they're either not learning to read or they just can't find the books that they're interested in. So what’s really nice is they can give you books that you are interested in to help you become a better reader,” Faynshteyn said. “Reading is the core of everything. It sets you up for life. If you’re just driving a car, you need to read signs. If you're at the store, you need to read labels. To know what's going on in the world news, you need to know how to read.”

In addition to traditional book donations, Faynshteyn said community members can participate in the book drive in a number of other ways, including monetary donations, private book drive events such as a birthday party, and volunteering at the warehouse where they process and package the donations.

The Deerfield Goddard School has a book-o-meter, a large poster where administrators visually fill in the progress of book donations, to encourage student and parent engagement in the drive.

“Some of the Goddard schools brought in children to help tag the books and sort the books. I think for children, knowing that they're not just bringing the books, but that they're very involved in helping someone else like how to read or find a book that they love, is very impactful to see,” Faynshteyn said.

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