Barrett Foundation Grant Helps Provide Children’s Books Through Mission Summer Camp 2020

CHERRYFIELD, ME — A literacy grant from the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation enables the Maine Seacoast Mission to provide children’s books through the Mission’s EdGE Summer Camp 2020 reading/writing program.

Don Parker, EdGE Site Coordinator at Milbridge Elementary School, works with elementary students through Summer Camp, as well as during EdGE’s regular after-school programs. Of the Summer Camp reading/writing program Don says, “Obviously, a big piece of that is books. We’re really proud of being able to provide every camper a book for every four weeks of camp.” The books are fiction, non-fiction, “involved mostly around the State of Maine. Maine authors. Maine stories,” explains Parker.

Mission President John Zavodny said, “At camp we provide children with free weekly books, reading and writing activities, and daily meals. The camp helps these children develop reading proficiency by the end of third grade, a pivotal time in their development. Students who can’t read proficiently by third grade fall behind academically. They often never catch up and are more likely to drop out of school before earning their high school diploma, limiting their career options, earning power, and quality of life,” President Zavodny explained.

“In addition to the summer camp reading/writing activities, the grant gives us the ability to deliver free books to student homes, and encourage the children to read and participate in online activities. This summer, as a result of the coronavirus situation which reduced summer food options in the community, we are delivering weekly meals to the homes of would-be campers and other EdGE students,” Zavodny said. These deliveries will include books, providing nourishment for the mind as well as food.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for local kids,” added Don Parker. “It teaches kids the importance of books and how fun and enriching books can be. It can be really rewarding for a teacher, an adult, a camp counselor, to sit at the heart of a circle and have those children listen to you read this story, this adventure. We want the book to be more than words on a page. We want it to be an experience. This reading/writing program helps us have that experience together. It’s important. I’m honored to be part of it,” said Parker.

Thanks to the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation, a tradition of summer reading continues.

Learn more about EdGE Summer Camp.