Key Club organizes Kids’ Book Drive


Screenshot from Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank website.

Lara Decastecker, Contributing Writer

Solon High School (SHS) Key Club, which is part of Key Club International, will host a Book Drive from March 4-8 to send gently used children and young adult books, but preferably children’s to the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank. Key Club members will go to classrooms first period to collect books, and collection bins for books will be around the school.

During a Key Club officer meeting, the idea of a book drive arose based on the concept of organizing a fundraiser

“It really came about because we were trying to find ways to better not just the Solon community, but greater Cleveland as well,” Key Club President Melissa Ellin said.

Judy Payne, a volunteer from the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank said that since two thirds of low-income families do not own a single book, donations can be world-altering. A 20-year old research study proved these results.

“The more books you have in your house, regardless of the number of books you’ve read, the greater your education throughout time,’ said SHS English teacher Nanci Bush.

The Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank directly looks for early reader books, especially board books that are used around the time when children are going into Kindergarten. On the front, the books may include the words: “I can Read,” “Step Into Reading,” “Level One” or “Level Two.”

Furthermore, if possible, the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank strongly encourages the donation of books which help represent minorities.

“[We are looking for] books that show diversity [since] most of our recipients are minorities and a lot of the books that we do distribute don’t feature minorities,” Payne said.

Payne also brought up a way to promote the children’s education and motivate their love for reading. Students can leave post-it notes inside the books. A simple ‘this is one of my favorites’ or ‘I hope you enjoy this classic and continue to read more’ can truly make a big difference.

“Inspirational encouragements just to brighten up the kids day that gets the book,” Payne said. The addition of notes which serve as checkpoints to prompt the children to continue reading can only help. Many children in poverty-ridden homes do not have the privilege of having parents who will get them books or read them books.

“[We] have a lot of privilege just going to school here, privileges that other students don’t have,” said SHS teacher and Key Club Advisor, Maggie Locke. “If you don’t have books at home or a parent who has time to take you to a library to rent books, you don’t have that knowledge.”

Additionally, Bush said that leaving a post-it in the book that says ‘good work, keep going’ could give the children some sort of reward and set goals.

Currently, there is no target number goal for the Book Drive since it’s the first time it’s being hosted.

“Even this year if we collect 50 books then the goal next year will be collecting 100,” Locke said. “I think that the first year you do something it’s really hard to put a number [on it].”

To Key Club any amount of books will make a difference.

“Any books whether it be… 50 or even 20, is going to benefit those children very much,” Ellin said.

Locke said Key Club plans on making the Book Drive an annual volunteer event because of its easy setup and imperative benefits to children’s education.

“Kindergartens are expected to know how to read,” Locke said. “Education is the foundation to the success in everything and that education starts before you ever enter a school building.”

The book drive parallels the goals and aspirations of both Key Club and the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank have for the community.

“Since Cleveland has the highest childhood poverty rate in the country, granting kids access to books is an important steps in helping to break the poverty cycle,” Payne said. “It is important to note that poverty and illiteracy go hand in hand.”