Foundation donates 300 books

Published 9:40 am Friday, June 28, 2013

Three Freeborn County programs that aim to strengthen parents have received 300 free children’s books through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

The foundation donated the books through its BookStart grant program, which is a partnership with children’s book publisher Capstone. The value of the donation is about $6,000.

TIm Penny

TIm Penny

Freeborn County’s Circle of Parents children’s program, the Freeborn County jail’s parenting classes and the Parenting Resource Center’s home visiting program will benefit.

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“We just feel that it’s really important that not only kids have the opportunity, but also the parents have the opportunity to get these books and read to their kids,” said Barb Sorum, director of data and evaluation for Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota. The organization oversees the Circle of Parents program.

Sorum said she has five grandchildren, and she has seen how much they enjoy reading books.

The 300 books will be used in the Circle of Parents weekly parenting support meetings and in the home-visitation program for mentoring. Sorum said through the parenting classes in the jail, fathers can send books to their children for Christmas or can be videotaped reading books to their children. About 125 of the books are in Spanish and the remainder are in English.

SMIF President Tim Penny said he was pleased to partner with the publishing company to provide the books.

“We believe investing in our young children is a long-term strategy that will lead to a capable workforce,” Penny said in a news release.

BookStart, which is now in its 11th year, has donated 60,000 books across southern Minnesota since it was created.

The goal is for every child to have a book of his or her own at home to read or be read to by family members.

This year, it donated 10,000 books valued at $185,338.

SMIF has invested $1 million annually in the last eight years toward early childhood education in its 20-county region.