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December 23, 2015

Connections Provide Thousands of Books for Suncoast Children

For those who know The Patterson Foundation and its approach, the term “connective tissue” will be very familiar. Because we learn new words and phrases better when they are used in context, please accept this story to better understand the power of connective tissue.

The key players: a generous donor, Goodwill ManasotaEmbracing Our Differences (which is bringing the National Education Association’s Read Across America day to Manatee and Sarasota counties in March), area Rotary Clubs and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

The scenario: Goodwill receives a donation of more than 28,000 Magic School Bus books. Goodwill staff members strategize about how best to distribute these books to reach the most children who would benefit. Rotary Clubs volunteer to distribute 14,000 books along with dictionaries for 4th grade students. Still, more than 14,000 books remain.

Enter Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) consultants who go to Goodwill to assemble prize packages for the Attendance Awareness Poster Contest. The next weekend, SCGLR distributes 500 books at the RAM event. Goodwill still has more than 13,000 books.

Enter Embracing Our Differences. When Michael Shelton, executive director of Embracing Our Differences, learns about the books at Goodwill, he offers Embracing Our Differences as the delivery system for all the remaining books.

The result: A lot of connective tissue was built and a lot of resources were optimized to create the most good in the most efficient and effective way.

Emails among the “tissue donors” speak volumes:

Veronica Miller from Goodwill said, “I am so thrilled we could partner with The Patterson Foundation and others. This generous donor donated a lot of books and we were able to put together strategies for the largest reach.”

Bob Rosinsky of Goodwill wrote, “We are committed to maximizing resources to create optimum benefit for those we all serve. I am happy to see the intention reflected in the reality!”

Debra Jacobs of The Patterson Foundation replied, “Bob—once again Goodwill demonstrates that working with others optimizes resources—a big thanks to Rick Hughes and your overall team!!”

Finally, Michael Shelton wrote, “I’ve spoken to Rick and EOD will be picking up the books during the first week of January. Based upon the number of books available we will be able to distribute one book to all second-, third- and fifth-graders and some first-graders at Title I schools. This should work well as the book aligns with the second-grade science curriculum. We will complete the distribution in early January.”

Can’t you just hear those tissues connecting?

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