Submitted by Cassidy, a Girl Scout working to earn her Gold Award with a project called “Imagination Station.” This blog is the latest update on her progress. To read her previous blog, click here.
“I wanna read this one! Can we please read this one?”
A pair of sparkling brown eyes looks up at me. I smile back and giggle to myself; I’m in the middle of organizing stacks upon stacks of children’s books, and the colorful piles swallow up my new friend. She stares at the book in her hands as if she’s discovered a buried treasure. I bend down to peek at her rare gem.
“Hey, you found a classic! ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ by Dr. Suess…let’s read!”
My summer was one for the books (literally!) I spent most of my days working on my Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, by creating a fruitful, up-to-date library for the children living at Joshua Station, a faith-based housing facility in downtown Denver that assists families as they transition out of homelessness. Tattered Cover Aspen Grove served as a donation drop-site for books, and the store gave me a matching donation of 290 brand new books.
My library is finally finished – I collected just over 2,900 books in donations! About 1,800 of these are organized on the shelves at Joshua Station, and the rest of the books I gave to four Seeds of Hope schools in the Denver area. In addition to the library, I designed a reading nook near the front entrance of Joshua Station and ran (and will continue to run) a children’s book club.
I’m incredibly blown away and humbled by the overwhelming response to my project, which I titled “Imagination Station.” Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who donated to my library. On Sept. 10 I hosted a “Library Grand-Opening” party at Joshua Station, complete with bookworm-themed crafts and treats, and a special guest, Clifford the Big Red Dog (Thanks, Scholastic!) The party itself was a blast, and it meant the world to me to have the people who supported me there too.
Taking on the Gold Award is an intimidating feat. It requires a great deal of work: the project must be sustainable and have a tangible impact. When I first started, I was afraid of not getting enough book donations to make the library worthwhile. I’m happy to say I collected 20 times my original goal of 150 books! This is all thanks to my live interview with KUSA’s Colorado & Company and articles in the Denver Post and Highlands Ranch Herald, which helped spread the word. So far I’ve spent over 200 hours on this project alone, from planning book club to sending emails to transporting books. Even so, I’ve loved almost every minute of it. This project has been a journey brimming with invaluable experiences.
No matter how many hours I spent buried in books this summer, the reward for my work is absolutely priceless. The children’s sheer excitement over all the brand new books, their brand new books, has made my heart dance with hope. Those children astound me because they’ve endured so much, but they shine brighter and smile bigger than anything that could ever try to limit them.