Despite the continued challenges of these extraordinary times, including not being able to have our annual in-person fundraiser for a second year, we were able to support ECBC’s mission in many ways in 2021. We built our oncology outpatient book gifting programs to be stronger than ever, giving away 200-300 books per month. We finally figured out how to successfully give a Read Think Thrive Bag to every child at CHOC as they are diagnosed with cancer — which amounted to 180 new diagnoses and bags delivered in 2021 (valued at $120-$150/bag). We continued to give away holiday-themed books for Halloween and December-themed holidays, although book delivery still looked different per Covid-altered protocol. Additionally, we launched our new virtual book club for teen cancer patients and survivors, with book selections and discussion curated by ECBC co-founder Ethan. AND, the best news of all is that we were one of few volunteer programs to be given the green light to resume our inpatient volunteer-dependent bedside reading and mobile book cart program as of this past October. It has been so great to be back reading aloud and book talking with the kids at CHOC!
Going forward in 2022, ECBC plans to continue to promote hospitalized kids’ cognitive health and thrivership by:
- Re-building and growing our inpatient reading programs to more expert reader volunteers, more days per week, more patient floors, and greater impact on kids’ thrivership during their hospital stays.
- Sustaining our various book gifting programs — including our Read Think Thrive Bags for patients as they are diagnosed with cancer; our gifting libraries at CHOC’s Oncology Clinic and the Outpatient Infusion Center so that every child visiting the clinic or OPI can select a high-quality book to keep; and our holiday book gifting such as BOO-ks for Treats at Halloween and our December holiday book gifting.
- Recruiting more teens and young adults to join Teens Thrive Reading Group (TTRG), our new virtual book club for teen cancer warriors that includes gifting Kindles and monthly Kindle books to participants. As this is a virtual program that is not hospital dependent, we are hoping to expand TTRG beyond CHOC to include oncology teens from around the country.
- Developing ways to provide parents with information and resources to help them optimally support their kids’ cognitive health and thrivership through treatment with books and reading. The hope is that this can include online methods as well as eventual in-person group sessions with parents during hospital stays.
- Bringing our annual fundraiser (BOOK IT!) back to an in-person charity run/walk and book drive! Our fingers are crossed hard that we can host our onsite event this year — which raises the majority of the funds that we need to run our programs. Please save the date — Labor Day, Monday September 5 2022!
Thank you to our awesome bedside readers who are back at it despite the challenges that come with visiting a children’s hospital in the middle of a pandemic. And a special thank you to ECBC’s Board of Directors — I am deeply grateful for the commitment and contributions of each of you. And a HUGE thank you to our amazing community for supporting ECBC during this especially difficult time — every monetary donation, book donation, book drive, and social media shout-out has mattered and we are deeply grateful.
To start off 2022 with a one-time or recurring monetary donation, please CLICK HERE.
To donate a book from our wish list, CLICK HERE.
Thank you for helping ECBC help Orange County’s hospitalized kids to thrive with high-quality books and reading experiences!