Literacy is Alive & Well in Contra Costa County!!
VESTIA has provided books throughout the social service network in Contra Costa County for many years, focusing on children and literacy, but also on encouraging children to learn to ENJOY reading. This last year we had some wonderful donors help us collect and deliver hundreds of books to children. These children can be waiting in lobbies, living in group homes, awaiting placement in children’s receiving centers, or simply getting the books as gifts for special holidays and birthdays. A book is the perfect gift – it can be FUN, it can impart information, and it helps a child develop a skill (reading) and self esteem through that accomplishment. VESTIA gathers new, high quality books year-round for distribution to children throughout the year.
VESTIA’s Lobby Book Program was started in 1998. The primary reason was to encourage children to learn to read by giving them brightly colored, interesting new books to take home following a visit to one of our lobbies.
The parents that we assist usually do not have the knowledge or skill to plan in advance and bring activities to occupy their young children when the parent has an interview with his or her social worker. It is very difficult for youngsters to sit still and be quiet when they have nothing to do. Now they have a neat book to read. A hoped for by-product of this gift is the prevention of negative attention.
Over time this program has expanded to providing books for Social Workers to take on their home visits with the children on their caseload. This is another way to encourage children to read by being able to provide books or a way for Social Workers to engage with the child by reading a book and asking questions about its content or pictures.
Our Lobby Book Program has won the prestigious Literacy Award from the Contra Costa County Reading Council.
As Dr. Seuss once wrote: “The more you read, the more things you’ll know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Learning to read is one of the most important childhood skills and can provide children with a tremendous sense of enjoyment. By offering books to marginalized children in our community, we hope to help them discover the wonder, excitement, and imagination that comes with reading.