I was not sure I would write a Blog for March. However, as is always true, COIPP keeps on working. Therefore I thought it was important to update on the happenings that took place in March. More than any other wish, I am hoping that April and the months that follow will be a safe time for our COIPP family- the children, those in jail, the caregivers, our volunteers and to all of you who support us.
Thank you ladies so much for your generosity today! I’ve never been good with words
but I am sooooo grateful and appreciative of your help!!
Note received from a participant in our March resource giveaway
COIPP had so many plans for the month of March, but our plans unexpectedly had to change, as did the plans of people all over the world. Thanks to an impressive group of board members, we came up with some creative ways to reach out to our families. As of this writing, several new activities are being organized and will take place in April. For this Blog, I will focus on what was accomplished in March.
Pillow Case Resource Giveaway- We know that during the Corona Virus many of our families are feeling isolated, worried and possibly struggling even more financially. Thanks to Gretta Benson and a handful of willing volunteers, on March 28 we were able to host a ‘give away’ at Staley Park targeted to our families. Gretta spent a day packing individually made pillow cases with hygiene supplies, art materials, holiday candy and other items. The beautiful pillow cases are donated to us and are one of a kind. COIPP purchased gift cards to Aldis and Giant Eagle. Gretta and Sue Guissinger contacted all of our families and told them to meet us at Staley Park if they wished to receive these gifts. We had many families come to the event-with all of us being careful to remain socially distant. A few of us delivered some bags to homes when the caregivers couldn’t come themselves. Thanks goes to all of our day’s volunteers: Gretta, Sue, Theresa, Larissa, Pat, and myself. I was a little worried about being out in the community. It was definitely worth it when I saw the faces of the caregivers as we surprised them with the resources we chose. The better news is that Gretta packed enough pillow cases for us to do
Read Alouds- What started as a ‘story time read aloud’ for my own grandchildren grew into a COIPP fun activity. Each day the children are home due to the virus, I put on a funny hat, am joined by a puppet, and read a book aloud for young children. At the time of this writing, the daily read alouds are sent to many, but first and foremost the children of COIPP. This has been a labor of love! I have to send a big thank you to Howie Scher who does the camera work, film editing and reviews the final product. Additionally, Marlene England at Curious Iguana Book Store has helped me choose so many of the new books I choose, though I still read some classics. Each story takes about 2 and 1/2 hours to put together. My personal goal is to send one out every day
so that the children come to know the same reader with the same resources accompanying her. What fun! You can find these read aloud on this website.
Technology Readiness- In our blogs and newsletters, we often talk about our activities. However, much goes on behind the scenes to make our work possible. A big part of this is record keeping, grant writing, and grant reporting. We are currently working on a new system that will allow us to better track all of our data, such as demographic and family contact for all COIPP participants, number of resources given out at events, number of activities held, which measurable outcomes were met, and more. This will help us greatly as we go forward. Thanks to the leadership of Pat Rosensteel, and the unwavering support of board members, as of this writing we are in the middle of building our technology capabilities for maintaining excellent and necessary data bases. This is something we can plan for during this time of social distancing; we are becoming excellent at video conferencing. I cannot wait to keep updating everyone on how far we go over the next few months. Special thanks goes to The Literacy Council of Frederick County who have helped us in so many ways.
I wish to end with a positive story. I received a call from my friend Lydia. Since her grandmother’s death a number of years ago, the family gets together each year and purchases books in her memory and donates them to a non-profit. This year Lydia told me they chose COIPP. For the month of March, Lydia worked with Curious Iguana Book Store. We chose some titles, the store set up a plan for giving and choosing from the list, and family from all over called or wrote in to choose and pay for the titles of their choice. Just heard today that over 100 books have been purchased. Amazing. Even now, people are so very generous. Here is to the ‘Books For Bubby’ celebration. What a way to keep someone’s memory alive!
May we all stay healthy during these, the toughest of times.