First Pages provides 250 children’s books to Early Kindergarten Registration effort
Written by: Kelly Partner, Founder & President
Published on: May 16th 2015
In April 2015, First Pages partnered with Durham’s Partnership for Children and their first-ever “Early Kindergarten Registration Week” by providing 250 children’s books to be distributed alongside Kindergarten registration and information packets.
As a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network here in the triangle-area, I receive a number of emails from our listserv regarding job postings, special events, professional development resources, and volunteer opportunities. It was from this listserv that I received an email from the East Durham Children’s Initiative. They were preparing for their week-long, multi-site kindergarten registration campaign throughout Durham and needed volunteers.
In reading their email, I learned that in 2013, almost 10% of Kindergartners in the Durham Public School System missed the first day of school (or more). To help combat this trend, at least in part, Durham’s Partnership for Children planned to run an Early Kindergarten Registration campaign in which they placed volunteers at multiple locations in community to hand out Kindergarten registration and information packets the entire week of April 12th-18th 2015. The outcome goals of the campaign were two-fold: 1) If a child is registered well in advance they wouldn’t experience a delay in attendance due to enrollment hang ups at the beginning of the school year, thus hopefully decreasing that 10% statistic for the 2015 Kindergarten class; and 2) Earlier registration would result in more accurate enrollment data over the summer, allowing teachers and administrators to best prepare for the upcoming school year and reduce the large influx of last-minute additions to their classrooms.
With the idea of GSD in mind (What is GSD you ask?) I immediately emailed the event’s organizer, Elaine, and explained that while First Pages was still in the planning stage of our existence, we did have a number of age-appropriate books on hand that we would love to provide for the Early Kindergarten Registration Week. Elaine immediate accepted our offer, and we arranged a time for me to drop off the books for them to divide up into the various bins going to the many different sites across Durham for the week. First Pages was able to provide 250 books appropriate for rising Kindergartners (think Sesame Street early readers, Disney story books, and Dr. Seuss).
First Pages board members and volunteers (Sarah Friedman, Laura Dewey, Paul Dewey, and myself) also filled a total of 5 volunteer spots during the Early Kindergarten Registration Week. It was great to see our contribution first-hand. Parents and children alike were drawn to the table because of the colorful stacks of books in addition to the kindergarten information. And while the children looked through the stack of books to find the perfect one, parents and volunteers had an extra moment to talk about kindergarten registration and answer questions.
One little boy was a little shy to pick out a book at first, but when he saw a Frozen book, his eyes lit up. His mother prompted him to say “thank you” to me and they began walking away. A few seconds later, the little boy tugged on his mom’s shirt. She bent down to listen to his whisper, looked back at me, looked at him and told him “sure, go ahead”. The little boy came sprinting back towards my table and gave me the biggest little-kid hug, and ran back to his mom and on to the rest of their day.
This was the highlight of my volunteer shift and embodies one of the many of the reasons First Pages was founded – to help get kids excited about books and reading at a young age. Mission accomplished with this partnership with Durham’s Partnership for Children and their Early Kindergarten Registration Week. We hope to partner with them for this and other initiatives in the future!