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First Book-Westminster Accepting Grant Applications for Books

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2007

First Book-Westminster, a new Westminster College organization, is accepting book grant applications from local nonprofit programs serving children in need.

Teachers and directors of local pre-schools, daycare facilities, after-school, tutoring, and mentoring programs are encouraged to apply on behalf of their programs.

To be eligible for a First Book grant, organizations are required to: incorporate reading as part of their program activities; serve children and families from low-income households; provide multiple distributions to each child in the program; and support the child's ongoing education outside of the school classroom setting.

Each child participating in a program that receives a grant will receive several books for a year, enabling the children to start their own home libraries. They will receive a bookplate on which they may place their name, celebrating the importance of book ownership.

The book grants are made possible through local fundraising efforts of First Book-Westminster.

"The children have the biggest smiles when they discover they can keep these books forever as their own," said Anna Will, a Westminster senior elementary education major from Aurora, Ohio, and member of First Book. "Our goal is to provide every child in need in Lawrence and Mercer Counties with new books."

Dr. Eileen Morelli, Westminster associate professor of education, is adviser to the group. Dr. Mandy Medvin, Gibson-Drinko distinguished chair of psychology and director of Westminster's Preschool Lab, is co-adviser.

First Book-Westminster has distributed 300 books to programs serving low-income children participating in programs including Walker Neighborhood House in New Castle, and Farrell Area Elementary School. The advisory board includes students and faculty from Westminster College.

First Book is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. In neighborhoods across the country, First Book advisory boards unite community leaders to provide books to children in literacy programs, shelters for battered children, housing project initiatives, soup kitchens, after-school programs, and other community-based efforts reaching children living at or below the poverty line. The organization has distributed over 45 million new books since its founding in 1992.

For more information about First Book, visit

Contact Morelli at (724) 946-6035 or e-mail for additional information about First Book-Westminster, to request an application, or to become involved with the local group. 

Mandy Bearrow, Lindsey Thomas, Mallory Waid