Thank you MCSO! Arizonans for Children Little Community Library

Arizonans for Children provides services for children in the foster care system.  We could not do all the good we do without community support and MCSO has become vital in helping these families heal.

In April of 2018 I saw a post on social media about a local agency auctioning “Little Community Libraries” that had been painted by local artists.  I really wanted a library at each of the Arizonans for Children Visitation Centers so I bid on my two favorites.  I was quickly outbid.
That same weekend we started a new group of kids in our STEM class; a series that Arizonans for Children has for kids in foster care to make sure they have access to the technology they need to be successful in school.  During this class there were two 15-year-old boys, not related, not in the same group home placement, neither have an IEP or 504 plan but neither could write their names.  15-year-old boys that will age out of the system in 3 years and they cannot write their names!

This same time frame Danielle from Child Help introduced Arizonans for Children to Isidro Cara with MCSO with the hopes of connecting to get books to the Arizonans for Children Visitation Centers. 

Also, at this time a long-time volunteer and former shop teacher Mike saw my posts about wanting Little Libraries and came up with the concept of having kids in foster care come to our center and personalize their own Little Library bookshelf.  Mike  reached out to a local furniture company and secured damaged or flawed drawers that could be converted into a bookshelf for the kids. 

With the books from MCSO and drawers from Trendwood Furniture we held the pilot class for the Arizonans for Children Little Library Literacy program in July of 2018!  10 15-18-year-old boys came to the pilot class.  They all painted and decorated their own library bookshelves then choose as many books as they would like to fill the shelf!
Of course, I made sure the two 15-year-old boys who could not write their names were part of this pilot class.  I was concerned that these boys would choose books that they cannot read when it came time to select books of interest.  The space is divided into 2 sections.  Picture books and young readers on one side of the room and chapter and more advanced readers on the other side.

As all the boys gathered into the library space, I asked them all to start at the picture book side and choose books they remembered from when they were young, books that they loved, books that make them laugh or smile, books on subjects they are interested in before heading to the other side of the room.  All of the boys did and reminisced over stories and books that had a special meaning to them.  They filled their libraries with a wide variety of books, books of all reading levels.

Towards the end of the workshop, as some of the boys were still choosing books, I encouraged the other kids to pick a book and read it.  I could not have been more excited to see the 2 boys sitting on our sofa, each with a picture book in their hands reading, learning and just enjoying time with a book! 

I met with Ron and Isidro to collaborate on ways MCSO can help Arizonans for Children improve and enrich the lives of the children we serve and mentioned how I really wanted to get one of those community Little Libraries for our Phoenix Visitation Center and how disappointed I was to quickly get out bid.  Can you even imagine how excited I was to find out MCSO had Little Libraries?
Arizonans for Children has a Mentor program that matches volunteers from the community with school age kids in foster care.   This program is helping kids go from a statistic to a success!  We are always looking for a variety of activities that our Mentors can do with their mentee so we decided to have a contest to come up with a theme to decorate the new little library.  Mentors and mentees brainstormed and came up with wonderful theme ideas.  We had a social media vote to choose the winner and the winner was “Books make imagination take flight”.
The Mentor and mentee that had this idea came and spent 2 whole Saturdays painting the library and it is a master piece!

Not just the families utilizing the Arizonans for Children Phoenix Visitation center will benefit from the Little Library but our entire community will! 

Today we had the official unveiling of the Arizonans for Children Little Community Library.  

None of this would have been possible without MCSO!  We are so very lucky to have established this community connection and together we will continue to Help Families Heal! 

All the kids got books to take with them, stickers and badges that made then a "Junior Deputy" and most importantly the chance to meet MCSO.  They met them at their level and help the community heal by realizing that MCSO is there to help and better our communities.

Often times children in the foster care system have a tremendous fear of law enforcement as they are frequently on site as the children are removed for safety reasons.  Today was healing not just for the kids but for the parents as well.

And one of my absolute favorite parts of the unveiling.....MCSO dancing with the families!  

Today and every day at Arizonans for Children we work to Help Families Heal.  If you would like to be a part of this visit our web site at  Together we are the difference!

***Did you noticed the Kindness Rocks on the ground surrounding the Little Library?  Our goal is to fill that entire space with beautiful, fun and inspiring Kindness Rocks.  Just one more way to brighten the lives of the families we serve as well as our community.  

This Little Community Library can be found at the Arizonans for Children Phoenix Visitation Center located at 1112 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix AZ 85013.  Stop by anytime.  Take a book, leave a book.  Find a Kindness Rock, leave a Kindness Rock.


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