XENIA — Books to the Rescue, a local 501c3 nonprofit organization, recently donated 76 bookbags to Greene County Children Services.
The bags are filled with new books and toys strategically chosen to provide comfort to children who are going through a stressful experience. Contents of each bag include board books, picture books, fiction and nonfiction for all ages, playing cards, interactive books, sticker books, activity items, and more. Topics covered by the books include coping and calming skills, self-esteem, dealing with emotions, and more. Spanish-language books are included.
Jana Gruber, executive director and founder of Books to the Rescue, presented the bookbags to Children Services during a recent staff meeting at the agency’s Xenia facility. She has made similar donations to other fire, rescue, police, and child-centered organizations in the Dayton area and throughout the U.S. since starting the nonprofit in 2015.
“These brand new books and toys provide a way for caseworkers, first responders, and others to connect with and soothe, distract, or comfort children during a scary or traumatizing situation,” said Gruber. “Feedback and research has shown that this type of positive distraction works by interrupting the child’s stress reaction and re-focusing their attention.”
Lana Penney, administrator of the county agency, said, “Everyone here is excited to begin using these books. All of our caseworkers will have them in their vehicles and we have lots of extra bags here in the office as well, so we’re prepared for any situation. We appreciate Jana’s generosity and how much she cares about the children of Greene County.”