Organization Helping Local Schools Turn the Page

BEA Day of Service

Teamwork is central to our culture on the job at Roscoe. But one of our favorite kinds of teamwork is the kind that takes place off the job, out in the community, where we are constantly inspired by the work of organizations like Turning the Page, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting family engagement in the schools, developing and supporting parent leaders, and instilling a “lifelong love of learning” in the children it serves.

Roscoe team members recently had the opportunity to help Turning the Page sort and box donated books for the two pop-up bookstores it operates in Chicago. The work was done as part of the Business Executives Association annual day of service. Roscoe President Jim Buik is the BEA’s outgoing president.

BEA Executive Direct Ed Graziano says the day of service is a bonding experience for members. “It’s a unique way to learn about the city and it takes us out of our day-to-day business to get out there and really participate,” he said.

Turning the Page: A Chapter on Chicago

Originally founded in Washington D.C. in 1998, the Chicago chapter of Turning the Page was formed in 2015 after author Candace Fleming, who serves on the organization’s Chicago advisory board, invited the organization to the city. The nonprofit partners with four schools in North Lawndale to bring together families, teachers, students and the community in a mission to drive high-quality public education.

From parent and student workshops to community nights, afterschool programs, and professional development for teachers, the group brings together students, parents, staff, and teachers “to improve educational outcomes through ongoing advocacy and ongoing engagement…”

“Our goal is to make sure we provide the resources for parents to become change-makers in their communities,” said Andrew Hertzberg, a Development Associate with the organization. “We also host parent leadership conferences, where the most engaged parents will come together and talk about what they are working on.”

During the organization’s regular community night events, students go home with free books. The organization also hosts authors and illustrators who read from their books, do book signings, and talk to the students about reading and writing.

A summer learning series helps to keep families engaged year round. With the city as its classroom, TTP organizes field trips and events throughout the summer.

Bonding over Books

The work is funded in part through the sale of donated books at TTP “Carpe Librum” pop-up bookstores, where proceeds help fund the organization’s programs and efforts.

“We get large donations from universities or book drives, then sell them in pop-up bookstores,” said Hertzberg.

With a staff of six, Turning the Page can always use a little extra help. So for the BEA’s day of service, 15 volunteers took a shift organizing 75 boxes of books.

Among its successes, the organization has distributed more than 2,285 books to families in North Lawndale. A few other benchmarks include:

  • 518 parents, 707 students and 89 teachers participated in TTP programs in Chicago last year
  • 42% of TTP families read at home with their children daily
  • 32% are reading to their children 4-6 days per week.

Interested in helping? Volunteer or donate to help. Books can also be dropped off at either of the group’s two Chicago locations, at 2812 N. Clark Street in Lakeview or on the Pedway level at Block 37, 108 N. State St.

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