Knowledge Is Power! Mom Starts Book Drive To Empower Local Foster Kids
She wants all children to have the tools they need to discover their "greatest potential."
As the mother of a toddler, I know how important books are to a child's development. It's part of our nightly bedtime routine. My daughter grabs a stack from the bookshelf and plops down on my lap for storytime. While some of the storylines may go over her head, the joy she gets from reading is obvious – even if she's hearing a story for the 100th time (I'm talking about you, Pete the Cat).
Sadly, not all children have stacks of books to choose from. Foster kids, for instance, only have a handful of personal belongings that they take with them from place to place. That's what inspired a mom in Lincoln, Nebraska to make sure those children get to experience the joy of having their own books.
"I have two children of my own, and we go through so many books a day," Kathleen Ousey told KOLN-TV. "We feel that is something that connects us as a family."
Kathleen Ousey knows the importance of having books accessible for her children's learning development. Kathleen Ousey/Facebook
Ousey, who is an independent consultant for Usborne Books & More, joined with fellow moms to collect books and backpacks for foster students in their community. With school starting, Ousey knows how important it is for every student to have the supplies they need.
One of Ousey's friends is a mother to two foster children, and her experience inspired her to start EmpowerMe Packs.
Hear Ousey talk about some new titles from her employer for readers of all age levels...
Having something personal to hold on to is important for kids in the foster care system. "The children come oftentimes times with a paper sack and a few belongings, I mean they don't come with a lot, sometimes it's abrupt [when they leave their home] and they don't know," Ousey said.
Thanks to donations collected from GoFundMe and a 50% match from the women's employer, Usborne Books & More, Ousey has raised over $28,000.
The group has raised over $28,000 for the project - enough to provide a set of high quality books to 500 foster children. Kathleen Ousey/Facebook
"Books bring comfort, companionship, education, therapy and escape," Ousey wrote on the project's GoFundMe page. "And they tell a child, 'YES, you are worthy, smart, gifted, unique, and there is a whole world of opportunity waiting for YOU.'"
The group will stuff each backpack with a selection of high quality Usborne and Kane Miller books that focus on fueling the children's "knowledge and wellness." The packs will be distributed at several foster care centers in Lincoln.
The group has also been collecting back packs to pack the books inside. Kathleen Ousey/Facebook
While the group has reached their goal for funding the book drive, they're still in need of new or gently used backpacks. Several companies in the area, including a sporting goods store, have contributed donations of cash or gift cards. What an incredible project! We're sure the EMpowerMe Packs will make a lot of kids happy, and will give them the confidence they need to reach their full potential.
Organizations and businesses have pitched in to help get supplies for Ousey's project. Kathleen Ousey/Facebook