On November 16, Eastside Medical Center honored American Education Week with the installation of a G.R.E.A.T. Little Minds book exchange at their main campus hospital located at 1700 Medical Way in Snellville.
G.R.E.A.T. (Gwinnett Reading Exchange & Art Transforms) Little Minds is a public art and awareness campaign designed to inspire the love of reading, provide access to early learning children’s books in areas where books are scarce, and encourage an appreciation for public art in Gwinnett County.
The Gwinnett Coalition of Health and Human Services reports that 52% of children in Gwinnett County arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning and 61% of low-income children are growing up in homes without books.
Access to books remains the single most important factor for a child’s educational success and G.R.E.A.T. Little Minds aims to provide more young children in Gwinnett County with books to keep in their homes.
“The vision for G.R.E.A.T. Little Minds is to have 150 free book exchanges painted, adorned and transformed into works of art providing free access to early learning books in communities that need them most,” stated Lecia Young, program coordinator for the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services. “We currently have 45 book exchanges installed in Gwinnett County and hope to have 75 by the end of this year.”
To celebrate the unveiling of the new book exchange and ensure the safety of all during the COVID-19 pandemic, a small group of Eastside Medical Center’s hospital leaders joined Lecia Young, program coordinator for the Gwinnett Coalition, outside of the hospital to host a live virtual ribbon cutting on the hospital’s Facebook page. Eastside’s painted book exchange was designed by local artist, Cathy Ensing, and depicts the theme of “Books on the Go.”
“At Eastside Medical Center, we’re invested in building healthier communities where our patients live and our colleagues serve,” said Trent Lind, chief executive officer at Eastside Medical Center. “This book exchange is just one small way that our Eastside family can support early childhood learning in our community. Our goal through this initiative is to play a part in fostering a pathway of educational success for the great little minds that will one day influence the future of Gwinnett County and perhaps even grow up to care for patients here at Eastside.”
Eastside Medical Center will steward the hospital’s book exchange for the next three years, ensuring that it remains full of books for children up to age eight. While Eastside employees will donate books year round, community members are also welcome to donate to the book exchange that is located outside of the South Entrance of the hospital.Community members can come by as frequently as they wish to pick up books for their children.