Reading is fundamental. Not only is it the name of the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States; it’s also a basic skill many of us take for granted.
Studies show reading helps reduce stress and increase tranquility; improve focus and concentration, knowledge, memory, and writing skills; expand vocabulary; and strengthen analytical thinking skills.
But, for Sara Keene, reading wasn’t always easy.
By the Book
Sara grew up in a house where books were rarely around. The local public library was too far away for her family to visit on a regular basis. Reading became a challenge, because it wasn’t readily available.
Now, Sara has two children of her own, and she has made reading a part of their daily lives. But she wanted to do more.
Sara, a Surgical Aide at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, brought up the idea of having a book drive during a Workplace Environment committee meeting. The committee focuses on enhancing the workplace for OSF St. Joseph Medical Center employees, and also provides outreach to the community.
“To me, this seemed like something our community could benefit from in countless ways,” said Sara. “Literacy is important for a good education and allows endless opportunities. Reading is the gateway into new worlds and new ideas.”
The committee loved the idea, and the first book drive was held from September 1 to 15. Six drop off locations were set up throughout the medical center where employees and visitors could make their donation. Drop boxes were also placed at OSF Medical Group – College Avenue and the Center for Health at Ft. Jesse.
“We collected everything from comic books to medical books,” said Sara. “My children would help me pick up the books from the different sites. They were always so excited to see how many people were donating for charity, as was I.”
That’s One for the Books
The Book Drive collected around 4,000 books which are being donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal, West Bloomington Revitalization Project’s Book Bike, Salvation Army Safe Harbor Shelter, Home Sweet Home Ministries, YWCA, YMCA, and Bloomington-Normal school districts.
OSF St. Joseph organizes many collection drives throughout the year, benefiting various nonprofit organizations in McLean County, including a shoe drive, toy drive, and winter apparel drive.
For more information on collection drives and events at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, please visit osfstjoseph.org/calendar.