Timber Joey, Children's Book Bank, 10.19.15
Photo by Dan Swope

Portland Timbers celebrate with Children's Book Bank at Multi-Cultural Diversity Day to promote reading

On Monday, Portland Timbers mascot Timber Joey traveled to Kairos, a local elementary school, as part of Multi-Cultural Diversity Day, where he read books to a rapt audience of 1st and 2nd graders.

The event was hosted by the Children's Book Bank (CBB), a Portland-based non-profit founded by Danielle Swope in 2008. The organization's goal is to help get books into the hands of children of need.

Since its founding, the organization has had over 6,500 community volunteers help distribute nearly 500,000 books into the homes of over 35,000 children of need in the Portland area.

The event on Monday was intended to raise awareness about both the importance of having books in the home and the importance of having culturally appropriate books available to children from diverse backgrounds.

“We hope that narrowing the book gap that exists for low income children means that more children have the opportunity to be raised with books!” said Swope.

“With books in the home, children can read more often and for longer lengths of time, families can develop a habit of reading, parents come to see themselves as their child's first teacher and that books can be used to build healthy connections. By filling children's homes and lives with a wide variety of engaging books we also hope to spark curiosity, open minds and celebrate the diversity of the children we serve.”

Swope explained that her organization's goal is to make donating books as commonplace as donating canned goods. But in order to accomplish this, the CBB needs the greater Portland community to know about this urgent need for books.

The Children’s Book Bank received a grant earlier this year from the Portland Timbers Community Fund to purchase age appropriate and culturally relevant books as part of the “Story Like Mine” project.  So far, events like Monday's with Timber Joey have helped raise awareness about the issue and elevated the profile of CBB in the greater Portland community.

“Whether it's connecting dozens of volunteers to our mission though Stand Together week, providing leadership funds for our 'A Story Like Mine' campaign, recognizing CBB in front of twenty plus thousand fans at a Timbers game, or sending Timber Joey to an event to help generate some press, we genuinely appreciate how much the Timbers organization both supports and shares our mission to support literacy, especially for at-risk children and children of color,” remarked Swope.

If you'd like to donate books as part of CBB's 'A Story Like Mine' campaign, you can visit this page [url=http://www.childrensbookbank.org/a-story-like-mine] for more details.