Today’s IW story comes from my own backyard. Miriam Epstein, a former teacher in my town school system, has been running an organization for the past 10 years called Books to Dream. The organization gives away at least 3,000 books a month and serves 130 organizations around the world. Epstein also runs programs at the Willimantic Holy Family and Home Shelter. Epstein runs the organization in hopes to give kids who live in poverty a chance to escape that life through reading, even if for only a short time.
I think this organization and what Ms. Epstein is doing is an absolutely fantastic idea. Poverty is all too prevalent thing in the U.S., and the fact that so many kids have to live through it is appalling. Now, perhaps B2D doesn’t actually solve the problem of poverty, but I think giving impoverished kids a way to cope with it is a great thing. I know in my own experience that reading allows me to enter worlds that can only be discovered through a book. I also think that providing books to children may perhaps give them the attitude to try and do all they can to get out of their situation (not getting into the societal politics of it here), by seeing worlds that are different than their own, and striving to make their own lives more like those. Obviously, if they’re reading Harry Potter, they’re not going to start doing magic, but I hardly think a kid needs to see the world they live in all the time. If they have the attitude to succeed that many books feature, they may be able to as well.
I think Ms. Epstein has a wonderful program, and out of all the stories I’ve read this week while trying to find something to write here, it has been the one I’ve liked the best.