By: Katie Hart Smith | Gwinnett Citizen
Published: 2016-09-19 14:40
Date Modified: 2017-07-14 18:40
Volunteers from around the Gwinnett community sorted 5,000 books this past weekend.

Lawrenceville First Baptist Church (LFBC) – First Book Club 165 is calling for volunteers to sort and organize 15,000 children’s books on Saturday 9/24/16 and Saturday, 10/1/16 at Lawrenceville’s Hooper Renwick School cafeteria between the hours of 9am – 4pm. 

Lawrenceville First Baptist Church – First Book Club 165 collects new and gently used children’s books to distribute throughout the community.Lawrenceville First Baptist Church – First Book Club 165 collects new and gently used children’s books to distribute throughout the community.Vicki Aiken, leader of the book ministry at LFBC and a teacher and local school technical coach at J. A. Alford Elementary School, saw a need for children to have books available to them during the summer months. “Through the tutoring ministry at our church, we work with students from economically disadvantaged area schools. We noticed some of the children didn’t have access to books to read during the summer,” Aiken said.

Research shows that children in these communities who lack resources to include transportation to local libraries or access to free online books, experience a sharp decline in their reading levels during the summer months, referred to as the “summer slide.”

Lawrenceville’s Mayor Judy Johnson lends a helping hand to organize books to be distributed to students at Lawrenceville Elementary School.Lawrenceville’s Mayor Judy Johnson lends a helping hand to organize books to be distributed to students at Lawrenceville Elementary Schoo

“Vicki met with me to share her vision and dream to provide children in the Central Gwinnett cluster with twelve books at the end of the school year,” said Principal Lisa Johnson, Lawrenceville Elementary School. “We were currently providing a few books to children through our summer book mobile and lunch program, but we didn’t have enough books to provide our 750 students with twelve books.”

Aiken applied for grants; First Book Club 165 was awarded 20,000 books through Better World Books, an organization that donates books across the country. This past weekend, volunteers from LFBC, the Lion’s Club, students from Georgia Gwinnett College, Principal Johnson, and Lawrenceville’s Mayor Judy Johnson sorted 5,000 books.

Where do you store 20,000 children’s books?

“The City of Lawrenceville donated space in the cafeteria at the Hooper Renwick School to house the ten enormous boxes that each weighs approximately 1,000 pounds,” said Mayor Johnson. “The long-term goal of the grant is to promote literacy and provide all four elementary schools with books for their students in the Central Gwinnett Cluster. The program is being piloted at Lawrenceville Elementary School first.”

“The mission of the LFBC book club is to help children in our community succeed in school by instilling a lifetime love of reading,” said Aiken. “We care about these children and their education.”

Students at Lawrenceville Elementary School will be able to pick out twelve books to take home at the end of the school year.Students at Lawrenceville Elementary School will be able to pick out twelve books to take home at the end of the school year.

How can you help?

Volunteers are needed at the Hooper Renwick School on Saturday 9/24/16 and Saturday 10/1/16 from 9am – 4pm. For details and to register, visit: http://goo.gl/uekwDk

To donate new or gently used children’s books, or contribute a financial donation to the Lawrenceville First Baptist Church – First Book Club 165, visit: http://bookclub165.wixsite.com/bookclub

Volunteers will be needed on Monday, May 15, 2017 at Lawrenceville Elementary School when books will be distributed to the students at the end of the school year. For more information and to register, contact Karlene Hamilton, LES Parent Instructional Coordinator, at (770) 963-1813.