With the collective goal of fostering reading at home, the Mission Promise Neighborhood held its “Third Annual Holiday Book Giveaway” on Dec. 15. The venue was Plaza Adelante, MEDA’s neighborhood center. (MEDA is the lead agency of this education initiative.)
Mission kids donning holiday attire — ranging from colorful sweaters to Santa hats — chose two or three books to go under their Christmas tree. The cute factor was high, as Mission Graduates’ Executive Director Eddie Kaufman played Papa Noel for the second year in a row, kids queuing up for a photo op.
There were books available for all children, with brackets of 0-3 years of age, Pre-K to kinder, first to third grade, fourth to fifth grade and middle school.
Choosing a book was no easy task for families, as there were 577 available. The majority of donations were via the Children’s Book Project, which for a quarter century has been bringing free books to underresourced kids.
The remainder of book donations came from Mission Promise Neighborhood partner Tandem, Partners in Early Learning, plus from members of MEDA’s Young Leaders Council.
With an amazing 445 books handed out in just two hours, the leftovers were put to good use, being forwarded to La Raza Community Resource Center, or Cesar Chavez and Bryant schools’ Parent Room libraries.
Additionally, there were 30 Talk, Read, Sing bags doled out at a workshop promoting early literacy at home, taught by Mission Promise Neighborhood Early Learning Program Manager Ada Alvarado.
Intern Maria Jose Gallo added an additional gift: Kids could be seen busily making a personalized bookmark using art supplies and crayons. She also created a two-pager advising parents that students get tested to ascertain their reading level — important to finding appropriate books to engage your child.
According to the 2016 Mission Promise Neighborhood survey (see Page 30), 77 percent of parents of children zero to five years of age now report reading to their child at least three times per week. This is an increase from 64 percent in 2014. Recent research has shown that children whose parents more frequently read to them, regardless of income or education, are more likely to do well in school.
As the Mission Promise Neighborhood is always using data to evaluate trends, there were 71 surveys collected from families at the book giveaway. Questions asked were along the lines of “How often do you read to your child at home?” and ”How often does your child read by themselves at home?”
The respondents by far indicated that they liked the event, offering ideas for betterment ranging from longer hours to maximize time at resource tables, augmenting donations so children could get three to five books each and finding toy donations, the latter possibly given out by raffle.
Upon departure, parents received gift bags with snacks and complimentary tickets to a pair of local museums: the Asian Art Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.
Stated one parent: “It was my first time attending an event like this one, I think it’s great so that as parents we can find out about programs and help our children for their future. Thank you!”
Thanks to partners Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, Mission Graduates, The City and County of San Francisco Office of Workforce and Employment Development and the San Francisco Public Library for being on hand to make the holidays joyous.
“The book giveaway means so much to our Mission families. This is a true collaborative effort. Thanks to the nine staff that volunteered their time, plus our many partners that contributed to this community event’s success,” summed up Mission Promise Neighborhood Family Support Manager Celina Ramos-Castro.