2022 was productive and impactful for ECBC! We finally returned to pre-Covid levels of programming, and we far surpassed prior years’ book gifting levels — giving away 400-500 new books per month between our outpatient and inpatient gifting libraries. At the end of 2021 we were given the green light to resume our inpatient bedside reading and mobile book cart program (which had been on halt since the start of Covid), and in 2022 we were given an additional day, so our bedside readers are now reading and gifting books in patient rooms two days per week. Our amazing group of volunteer bedside readers is growing (now at 14) — passionate about kids’ literacy/literature, they provide high-quality interactive read -alouds for patients of all ages that are also often kids’ only non-medical related conversations of the day. We gave a Read Think Thrive Bag to every child at CHOC as they were diagnosed with cancer — which was a hefty commitment this year given that the cancer diagnosis rate was the highest in the history of the hospital (we gifted 10-15 book bags per month, valued at $150 per bag). We continued to give away large numbers of holiday-themed books for various holidays, and we enjoyed returning to Miracle Manor (Miracles for Kids’ subsidized housing for CHOC families) to provide Christmas storytime for patients and siblings. And, we continued to provide free Kindles and Kindle books for teen and young adult cancer patients in our virtual book club, with book selections and discussion curated by ECBC co-founder Ethan. Despite not being able to hold our in-person annual fundraiser for a third consecutive year, we raised enough funds via our virtual BOOK IT to sustain our programming (though not enough to grow in order to meet increasing demands and costs). THANK YOU to our amazing community for supporting ECBC — every monetary donation, book donation, book drive, and social medial shout-out has mattered and allows ECBC to keep on going. And a special thank you to ECBC’s Board of Directors — Susie Alexander, Sandy Tweedy, Craig Bryson, Fenny Kokenge, Mary Kay Viscounty, Anne Case, and Dr. Van Huynh — I am deeply grateful for the commitment and contributions of each of you.
Going forward in 2023, ECBC plans to continue to promote hospitalized kids’ cognitive health and thrivership by:
- Growing our inpatient reading program to more expert reader volunteers, more days per week, more patient floors, and greater impact on kids’ thrivership during their hospital stays. We hope to move closer to our ultimate goal of offering reading to patients daily, consistent with decades of research that shows the benefits of reading aloud at least fifteen minutes per day.
- Sustaining our high levels of book donations across our various book gifting programs — including our gifting libraries at CHOC’s Oncology Clinic and Outpateint Infusion Center so that every child visiting the clinic or OPI can select a high-quality book to keep; our holiday book gifting such as BOO-ks for Treats on Halloween and our December holiday book gifting; our book gifting to patients in isolation via our mobile library cart; and our Read Think Thrive (RTT) Bags for patients as they are diagnsoed with cancer. We hope to someday be able to exapnd beyond CHOC to provide our RTT Bags to additional kids who are diagnosed with cancer — though this is likely a more distant goal given the significant additional funds and storage space that would be required for more inventory.
- Recruiting more teens and young adults to join Teens Thrive Reading Group (TTRG), our 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 or storage space dependent, we hope to expand TTRG beyond CHOC to include oncology teens from around the country.
- Expanding our impact by providing parents with resources to help them optimally support their kids’ cognitive health 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 run/walk and book drive! This is risky for our tiny nonprofit given the significant upfront costs of hosting an in-person event; however, we need to raise more funds than we can virtually. We are currently seeking event sponsors at all levels — email email@example.com if interested. Please save the date — Labor Day, Monday September 4 2023!
- Obtaining office/storage space! We have spent the past 6+ years with a small offsite storage unit and using our founder’s house as the main source of our storage. As we grow our organization, we are in great need of a single space for storage and our volunteer activities (like filling the canvas bags for new diagnoses or sorting and stamping the hundreds of books that we gift each month). As we have a very limited budget, we are looking for an ECBC benefactor who could support us with donating space or finances that would allow us to get a space. We’re hopeful that we can make this happen in 2023!
To start off 2023 with a one-time or recurring monetary donation, please CLICK HERE.
Thank you for helping ECBC help Orange County’s hospitalized kids to thrive with high-quality books and reading experiences!