PoWeR! Book Bags, a non-profit organization in Suttons Bay, provides language and literacy materials to underserved children in 20 northwestern lower Michigan counties. Their aim is to empower children to play, write, and read today for a better tomorrow. Executive Director and Founder, Kara Gregory, shared with volunteers that the Foundation of ITC had made a very generous gift of $10,000 to support PoWeR! Book Bags.
“We are so grateful to ITC for their generosity. It is the support of organizations like ITC that make it possible to provide these beautiful books and materials to children and their families. PoWeR! Book Bags and ITC share a commitment to support children and literacy. As we increase the opportunities for reading and writing at home, children are more likely to practice these behaviors, increase their skills, and develop positive attitudes towards literacy — expanding their opportunities for success in school and beyond!” said Gregory. ITC provides energy grid transmission services in Michigan. Its foundation focuses on supporting local communities in five key areas: education, the environment, health & wellness, social services, and arts & culture programs.
Throughout the last month, volunteers at PoWeR! Book Bags have been busy packing more than 15,000 books and 6,000 literacy bags filled with crayons, book marks, writing booklets, and a puppet for play. These were delivered to 28 northern Michigan schools. The materials went home with the children as they left for school breaks.
Gregory described, “PoWeR! Book Bags uses research-based practices to intentionally enhance the quantity and quality of print materials in the home. We want to offer children more opportunities for reading and writing at home and help them fall in love with it all! Literacy development begins at infancy. Children are never too young or too old to benefit from someone singing, talking, playing, writing, or reading a book with them! These interactions over time make a huge difference in kids’ lives. PoWeR! Book Bags partners with schools, health departments, Early Head Start, libraries, food and baby pantries, and other sites of assistance: places families already visit. We offer children and their families on-going access to language/literacy materials including brand-new books that they select to keep, read, and reread,” said Gregory. “It takes the power of our volunteers, generous community donations, and grants from partners like ITC to make this all happen. We couldn’t be more grateful!”