Authored by Maria Drummond, Youth Services Recreation Therapist
Coming into emergency shelter at the Christmas Box House or the Boys or Girls Group homes can be a tough transition to deal with. Here at Youth Services, we try our best to support the children and youth who come through our doors with a myriad of opportunities to cope with the stress of their situation.
The latest resource we have created (in coordination with our non-profit partner, Christmas Box International) is The Christmas Box Book Nook. Through the help of several large groups of volunteers, the donations of an ever generous community, and the focused effort of 2 exceptional volunteers, Heather Walker and Rebekah Crotty, who contributed 25 hours of service each to the project, we now have a beautiful Book Nook filled with literary coping resources from sensory board books to self help finance books.
Nancy Moos, a Library Sciences grad student, is contributing 2 hours of her time each week to provide on-going management of our donated book collection. Each child or youth that participates in our shelter programs will be able to choose at least 3 books to keep for themselves. In providing the opportunity of owning their own books, perhaps for the first time, we hope to give the children and youth we serve a positive literacy experience. Nancy is doing the important work of sorting our donations as they come in and alerting us when we are running low on any specific type of book (like board books, readers, or teen fiction).
Whether they be a young child receiving care at the Christmas Box House or a young adult accessing services through our Milestone Program after aging out of the foster system, literacy and all the insight, power, and pure enjoyment of reading is more accessible to each client who is able to participate in the Christmas Box Book Nook program. Clients in our programs will be able to use reading or looking at books as a way to get some personal space in a group home setting, or as a tool to help them ‘check out’ of the stress of their current situation. Young adults and older teens can choose to learn about important independent living skills. Providing this resource will be one more way in which we work to fulfill our mission of providing children, youth, and families in crisis with immediate safety, shelter and support.
For more information call Salt Lake County Youth Services at 385-468-4500.