THANK YOU Brookhaven Elementary School for hosting a book drive for ECBC at your book fair last week, and for the 134 new books that were donated by your families! And a HUGE thank you to Jennifer Wolsky Garnant for organizing the book drive and to Will for counting the books and ensuring they are all bookplated! We are so grateful for your support; all of these books will be going to CHOC oncology patients next week!
We’re excited to announce that BOOK IT is finally back as an in-person charity walk/run, after a 4 year hiatus! Currently, ECBC is giving away 500+ new books monthly to patients atCHOC Children’s Hospital (largely to oncology warriors and other kids battling life-altering illness), and our volunteers are reading aloud at patients’ bedside. Please join us in Irvine on the morning of Sept 4, and help us to sustain our book and reading programs at CHOC! You can register quickly by clicking the graphic below, and enter BOOKIT2023_earlyreg20 for an early registration discount of 20% per registrant. Also please consider creating a walking/running team and recruit others to join your team (works great for friends/family, sports teams, corporate team…any group!).
We also are looking for sponsors at most levels including Title Sponsor. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, click on the “become a sponsor” tab on the BOOK IT registration site, or email ali@ECbookclub for more information.
This year’s BOOK IT will feature:
- 1K Fun Run and 5K Walk/Run
- Race warm-up led by PaKua Master David Clawson and CHOC mascot CHOCO
- T-shirt, medal, and electronic timing results
- Book character costume contest with prizes
- On-site booksellers + book drive, with raffle for donating a book
- Other literary-themed activities
Thank you for helping ECBC to help Orange County’s hospitalized kids thrive with books and reading. We hope to see you on September 4 at the start line!
Please share this post, or the link to the BOOK IT registration site (https://runsignup.com/BOOKIT2023) if you can!
This morning we re-stocked the hospital’s inventory of ECBC’s Read Think Thrive Bags, which are book bags that are given to every toddler, child, and teen/young adult who is diagnosed with cancer at CHOC. These bags are stocked with ten new book books curated by the age and gender of the recipient, as well as art and literary crafting supplies, a letter and “Thrive Challenge” from Ethan, and other literacy support items (bookmark, reading light, Parent Pamphlet for supporting literacy through treatment). Valued at $150 a bag, sustaining this program is a mighty task for ECBC, especially given the current cancer diagnosis rate of 10-15 new cases per month. We so appreciate our donors who have allowed us provide these bags to help oncology warriors to thrive through treatment with easy access to high-quality books!
Today was outpatient book delivery day for the month of March! Patients went through more books this past month than ever in the past, and we restocked 450 books for patients of all ages. Many kids and families are now looking forward to their visits because they know they will get to pick out a new high-quality book from a fantastic and varied collection. Books motivating kids to look forward to their oncology and chemo infusion visits—I’d call that success for ECBC for sure!
THANK YOU Hicks Canyon Elementary School for hosting a spring book drive and collecting 77 new books for ECBC — all of which will be going directly to CHOC this Friday as part of our monthly outpatient library re-stocking day. We are so grateful that you chose to support ECBC at BOTH your school book fairs this year, and we are super excited about your commitment to partner with us in the future. And a big thank you to Tina Jussal for your ongoing leadership in putting together book drives for us. We are giving away a significant number of books (~500+ per month), so we depend on schools like Hicks to keep on going. Thank you!
This weekend, volunteers gathered to assemble 112 Read Think Thrive bags, ECBC’s books bags that are delivered to every patient at CHOC Children’s Hospital in the days or weeks following a new cancer diagnosis. Each zippered canvas bag contains ten new, highly-quality books that are curated by the age and gender of the recipient, a generous stash of art supplies and literary crafting materials (e.g., blank books, blank comic books, blank bookmarks), a “Read Think Thrive Challenge” from Ethan to do a creative response to one of the books in the bag, a handwritten postcard and literary response from a non-cancer “Thrive Buddy” to motivate a creative thinking response to a book, and various other items such as a reading light, bookmark, and our collectible Book Bands. Since we have twelve different age X gender categories of Read Think Thrive Bags with their own age X gender appropriate supplies, assembling 112 bags is quite an undertaking, organizationally and financially! THANK YOU to all the volunteers who came out to help put these together, and a HUGE thank you to Anne Case and Susie Alexander for all your work to pull this day off! And finally, thank you to Eric Tweedt for your ongoing generosity in letting ECBC use your warehouse space for this project (and storing a ton of our books)! We can’t wait to get these book bags into the hands of kids at CHOC and to hopefully inspire regular reading of great literature as part of their battles against cancer.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and along with our usual bedside reading and book give-aways, this week we delivered Valentine cards made by local high school students that shared “love of reading” messages with CHOC patients. THANK YOU to Foothill High School ECBC club for making these beautiful cards at your last club meeting — the patients loved getting personalized cards written by high schoolers!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
If you haven’t donated to Ethan & Choco’s Book Club yet this year and are looking to make an end-of-year gift before January 1, you can still do so now! CHOC Children’s is beyond full capacity with playrooms and other social spaces converted to patient rooms; cancer diagnoses are at an all-time high for the hospital; and most of ECBC’s programs have returned to or surpassed their pre-Covid levels of operation — so donations are greatly needed to meet the significant demand. All donations will go directly towards helping hospitalized kids (especially kids battling cancer and other life-altering conditions) thrive through treatment with high-quality books and read-aloud experiences. For example, a $20 donation may buy a book for a child who is inpatient on the oncology floor; a $150 donation may provide a book bag containing a mini-library of age and gender appropriate literature for a child just recently diagnosed with cancer; and a $250 donation may provide a Kindle and monthly Kindle books for a teenage oncology warrior. All donations are tax-deductible, and donors are acknowledged on the items they fund. You can CLICK HERE to donate: Please email Ali@ECbookclub.com for a donation receipt.
On Monday we delivered several hundred December holiday-themed books to our outpatient libraries, and yesterday we filled up our Gifting Library Cart on the inpatient side at CHOC for kids who are stuck in the hospital over the holidays. We also added wonderful holiday books to each age category of our Read Aloud Wagons. Thank you to Bedside Readers Mary Kay and Suzanne for launching holiday storytimes in patient rooms yesterday! Patient favorite of the day: Tough Cookie: A Christmas Story (by Edward Hemingway).
We will continue to re-stock our gifting cart with holiday books for the month of December as long as we have inventory…but we will go through the books fast since the hospital is at full capacity. Please consider donating a book from our holiday wish list! Click HERE to access the list.