2020 was hard all around, including for tiny nonprofits like ECBC. When Covid hit in March, we had to stop all our inpatient volunteer-based reading activities, which are the backbone of ECBC programming and relatively low cost. We weren’t able to hold our in-person BOOK IT charity run, which is ECBC’s only formal fundraiser of the year. And, our ongoing large book donations have completely stopped due to the lack of onsite school book fairs and other in-person group events. That being said, 2020 was an opportunity for ECBC to grow in other ways, including by:
- Forming our initial Board of Directors comprised of 8 amazing board members, and having our first two Board meetings in July and November.
- Filing taxes for the first time, with 2019 being our first year as an approved 501(c)3 public-benefit corporation.
- Hosting a fully virtual BOOK IT fundraising campaign, which helped to expand our community of supporters and raised enough funds for ECBC to resume some of our covid-modified programs upon hospital approval.
- Converting our book box program to book bags per new infectious disease requirements (concerns about cardboard); having our first “mega bag packaging day” and finally having bulk inventory for delivery (thank you to local girl scouts), and as of September putting in place systematic delivery of Read Think Thrive Bags (which contain a mini library of 10 high-quality books curated by age and gender of the recipient) to every new oncology diagnosis at CHOC Children’s Hospital.
- Launching a new outpatient oncology book gifting program and library cart, which involves offering high-quality age-appropriate books to all kids entering CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center. Per covid-based restrictions on the inpatient side, this shift to book gifting through outpatient has led to a new and terrific partnership with outpatient oncology staff.
- Gifting significant numbers of wonderful holiday-themed books on Halloween and for the December holidays — to CHOC inpatients, outpatients, and patients and siblings living at Miracle Manor.
Going forward in 2021, ECBC hopes to continue to promote hospitalized kids’ cognitive health and thrivership by:
- Sustaining our ongoing outpatient gifting library cart and our Read Think Thrive Bags for new cancer diagnoses
- Expanding our outpatient book gifting to the CHOC oncology clinic, so that every child that visits the clinic will be also offered a book (not just those visiting the infusion center).
- Formally launching Teens Thrive Reading Group, our new virtual book club for teen cancer patients and survivors that gifts Kindles and monthly e-books to participants. We will be recruiting participants from CHOC’s AYA (adolescent and young adult) group, and we will also work on online methods to recruit outside of CHOC teen cancer warriors who might be interested in participating.
- 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.
- Resuming and growing our inpatient reading programs as soon as our volunteers are allowed to enter the hospital again. Pre-covid, we were preparing to expand to more days per week, more patient floors, and our first bit of physical patient-use space to build a reading nook. As covid restrictions are lifted, we will be eager to return to growing our impact on kids’ thrivership during their hospital stays with rich literature-based reading programs.
A HUGE thank you to our amazing community for supporting ECBC during this especially difficult time — every monetary donation, book donation, and social media shout-out has mattered and we are deeply grateful. To start off 2021 with a monetary donation, please CLICK HERE. To donate a book off our wish list, CLICK HERE.
Thank you for helping ECBC help hospitalized kids to thrive with high-quality books and reading experiences!