Here's how we're taking action in our community:
When I was diagnosed with Leukemia and spent a lot of time at CHOC Children's Hospital, I noticed that the hospital hardly has any books, and you never see any kids reading or being read to. So, with my mom, I founded Ethan & Choco's Book Club (ECBC, and Choco is the mascot bear). The goal of my organization is to bring books and reading to kids' everyday care at CHOC -- which includes a reading aloud program and also a lending and gifting library. My big goal is to someday have a stand-alone library at CHOC, that works just like a regular library, where patients can check out any book they want, come for storytime, and know that reading is part of thriving through treatment in the hospital!
Ive done so much so far to move things along -- we're giving away lots of books at monthly events, we're sending out book boxes called Read+Think+Thrive boxes to kids with cancer, and we're getting volunteers approved to start a bedside reading program very soon. For this particular project, I conducted a book drive specifically to collect Halloween-themed books, so that ECBC could give away Halloween books at CHOC's annual trick or treating event for patients (which I got to go to when I've been inpatient over Halloween). I made a video for social media to ask for my favorite Halloween books. I also talked at my school to promote my book drive. And we created a display at the bookstore Once Upon a Storybook to encourage customers to purchase books to donate. ANd when all the books came in, I helped to stamp them -- which was a HUGE job since we collected almost 450 books!
Here's how we got the idea:
When I was first diagnosed with Leukemia, 2 days after it was Halloween. I just got my port placed in my chest and had my first dose of chemo, but I still got to dress up in my costume and go to CHOC's trick or treating. Now that ECBC is collecting so many books, I thought it would be really fun to actually have a booth at the trick or treating event, and to give out Halloween books. There were about 200 booths there on Halloween, and we were the only booth handing out books!!
These are the steps we took:
I made a Halloween wish list on Amazon.
I made a video to put on YouTube, Facebook, and the ECBC website asking for books and providing the link to my wish list on Amazon.
I wrote a speech for give at my school's Flag assembly
I brought my big ECBC donation box to school for donations, and also put up signs everywhere
I brought signs into the bookstore for a halloween display.
I went to a National League of Young Men meeting to receive a great book donation
I sorted, counted, and stamped a TON of books!
Here are some of the results:
We collected 447 new Halloween-themed books (about $4470 worth of books) -- including board books, picture books, beginning reader books, easy chapter books, harder chapter books, and joke books! We made about 200 patients at CHOC smile when they saw that at our booth they they got to get a new halloween book rather than candy!
These are the people who volunteered with me:
One of the coolest things that happened during my project was:
I collected WAY more books than I expected!
We decided that we will do a halloween book drive and halloween book booth every year!!
One of the most important things I learned was:
People seem to like donating more for a specific event.