Our club loves a good convo about great characters. We also love a strong and sweet cocktail. These two things make up the core of BookTini Book Club, but we threw a few extras in our mission to make our club well-rounded.
One of those extras is to “spread the gift of literacy through charity.” Our chapters take on community service projects in their communities, putting fun, entertaining and engaging books in the hands of young people every year.
Washington, DC, Maryland & Virginia
In April, BookTini - DMV partnered with a Maryland based female mentoring program, Purposefully Empowering And Reaching Little Sisters, Inc. (P.E.A.R.L.S.). DMV member, Emerald Tidwell, teaches at the elementary school where the group meets, which led to the collaboration.
The movie adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time was on its way to theaters, and to enhance the young ladies movie experience, the chapter provided each of them with a copy of the book. DMV raised money to purchase 28 books for the group and created a custom name label for each book cover.
A Wrinkle in Time was also BookTini’s national selection for our April movie month.
In July, BookTini – Carson did a "Day of Reading for Girls" where chapter members read various stories from Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison, to elementary aged girls. Each participant received a copy of the book to take home, along with a backpack filled with school supplies. The girls also received lunch and ended the day with a fun pool party.
BookTini – Fremont’s second annual Summer Girls Book Club was asuccess! The chapter hosted 10 young ladies, some of whom were returnees from last summer’s club. Led by Chapter Leader, Erika Albury, and member, Lauren Dobson, The Summer Girls Book Club met three times to discuss three books: Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renee Watson in June; Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz in July; and Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes in August.
BookTini - Fremont partnered with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women-Silicon Valley Chapter, who purchased the books, along with journals and pens for the young ladies. Each participant received a backpack with school supplies thanks to the generosity of the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Santa Clara Valley and the Eta Rho Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. And last but not least, the African American Community Service Agency provided a safe space for the book club to meet.
“It was a great opportunity to keep the kids focused on literacy and reading comprehension over the summer,” said Albury, who shared that BookTini -Fremont chose the project because of the success they had last summer. The enthusiasm from their partners, parents and students was also a welcome boost.
Dobson echoed her sentiments. “I love seeing the girls so happy to see each other and the friendships they made. And they really get what they are reading.”
HAMPTON ROADS, VA
On August 25th, BookTini -Hampton Roads hosted their first community service project: a summer book club for four middle school girls and three elementary school boys at Churchland Public Library in Portsmouth, VA. The girls read The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, and worked together to create a PSA discussing their interpretation of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Hampton Roads chapter plans to take the girls to see the movie adaptation of The Hate You Give in theaters upon its release in October.
The young boys book club read Donavan’s Word Jar by Monalisa Degross, and a male volunteer from the local community assisted with the discussion. The boys learned about the importance of learning new words and had a good time creating their own word jars. When their word jars are full of new words, they will be rewarded with a bowling event hosted by the Hampton Roads chapter.
Hampton Roads Chapter Leader, Jocelyn Gilchrist, felt the project was inspiring for both the children and the book club members who organized it. "It was so refreshing to see our boys working with a Black man encouraging them and teaching them about the importance of learning new words, reading books, and teamwork."
In 2017, BookTini – Sacramento was recognized by BookTini National for having the best community service project, so it is no surprise that the chapter has once again, completed another successful project. For the second year in a row, the chapter coordinated three summer book club meet ups for over 40 girls, ranging from kindergarten to high school. Each participant received three books, a backpack filled with school supplies and a certificate of completion.
A unique tidbit about BookTini-Sacramento’s multi-layered project is that it supports the transformative power of reading and literacy while also developing leadership skills. High school girls have their own book club discussion prior to the SGBC meet up, and then lead and facilitate the SGBC book discussions for the younger girls.
Cindy Cain, BookTini –Sacramento co-founder and co-Chapter Leader, recognized that their annual book club has sparked a few changes in the young girls who participate. “A parent shared that his daughter opened up and became more social with her peers from year one to year two.”
The Community Service Committee included BookTini-Sacramento members Michele Rogers-Touré, Toya Davis, Cindy Cain, Aliya Holmes, Medua Odum, and Shelia Dureseau from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women-Sacramento (NCBW). The program was sponsored by NCBW.
This year, the chapter added a fun twist: a pool party once the summer club ended. “The girls are always eager to get their books and discuss them every month,” said Davis, who is also BookTini’s National Community Service Chair. “This year we had a great time at the park with the program highlight being the swim party which set it off.” Tying literacy to amazing summer memories is a golden idea. BookTini-Sacramento looks forward to making the program better and better each year.
There are more service projects and donations where those came from. Stay tuned for additional positive and uplifting community service information from our other chapters coming later in the year.