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Mickie Post, right, who once taught with Owasco Elementary School, works with students at the Garden City Primary School in Belmopan, Belize. Post is teaching there with the Peace Corps.

Imagine a school filled with children going to class every day excited to learn, but possessing no ability to read anything unless it is found in their textbooks.

Doesn't that sound awful? Well, it is a reality for the Garden City Primary School in Belmopan, Belize. This school does not have a library and the classrooms do not have any books besides textbooks. Mickie Post intends to bring this to an end.

Post (formally worked at Owasco Elementary School) is in Belize, volunteering with the Peace Corps. It is her goal for teachers and children to have access to reading materials besides their textbooks/workbooks. She will be encouraging teachers to borrow books from the library to use in their classrooms, exchanging the collection a couple times a month. Her goal in literacy is to have the children do independent reading, and for the teachers to use the leveled readers to differentiate instruction. Unfortunately, this is impossible to do without reading resources.

Upon hearing this information from Mickie Post, we were eager to help in any way possible.

Join us at Downtown Books & Coffee in helping these children have a library and the ability to have access to reading materials besides their textbooks. We will be donating a variety of books and encourage you to do so as well.

Helping a child read is one of the greatest gifts one can give; this is a gift that will continue to be given for their entire life. From my personal experience, I know it took a certain teacher I had in school to get me interested in reading. The first part of that is to have books available to read. It just takes that one teacher, or that one book to change your life forever. I distinctly remember that point in my life when I really started to enjoy reading and where that has taken me in my life. It would be a shame for children anywhere to not have that same opportunity.

Each Christmas, we have done a book drive to help children in the area receive a book for a present, but this will be the first one that we have done this time of the year, and we need your help to make it successful.

When we have done book drives in the past, we have decided not to take secondhand books. This was done to avoid getting a lot of books in poor condition and to ensure that the books we were giving would be in a new condition. For Read Belize we will be accepting used books, just as long as they do not appear to be worn.

If you have books laying around that you were getting ready to get rid of and they are in good condition, instead of throwing them out or just boxing them up to take up space, you can put them in our donation box and help out a great cause.

From now until the end of June you can drop books off, or donate anything purchased in our store (we have a display of book suggestions to donate right behind our cash wrap) or at www.DowntownBooksandCoffee.com, and we will make sure it will make it to Belize, contributing to the start of an amazing library for children to enjoy for years to come.

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John Colvin is the manager of Downtown Books & Coffee on Genesee Street in Auburn, and can be reached at 515-3411 or DowntownBooksandCoffee.Com.

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