VERMILLION TWP. − For the past 10 years, students from the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center have been providing a service that reaches children of the Ashland County community through the bookcases the students make in John Staats' Construction Technology program.
The Ashland Bookcase Project began in 2012 by retired educator and school psychologist Julia Wright and has been going strong since. The program provides personalized bookcases stocked with books and a reading buddy stuffed animal for 80 children each year.
Last year's bookcase boost: Ashland project builds Career Center skills while helping youngsters read
Another 80 bookcases are now completed and ready to be stocked with around 60 books for distribution day. This year's distribution ceremony will take place in two sessions at 12:30 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, at the Career Center.
Staats said while his students build the bookcases, it is a team effort as other Career Center programs help to get the bookcases ready for distribution.
A fun project for a good cause
Senior Haley King said she appreciates the cause behind the bookcase program and the experience she's gained from helping to make them.
"I enjoyed building them, learning how to do different measurements and learning how to build an actual bookcase," King said. "I enjoy woodworking, so this was a fun project for me."
Senior Andrew Schaeg and classmate Collin Riniger agreed, saying it was a worthwhile project that is done for a good cause.
The students enjoy being a part of a program that helps develop a love of reading in the recipients.
Students in the RAMTEC program (Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology) make the personalized name tags that go on the front of the oak-faced bookcases, which are made of plywood and stained.
Early Childhood students read to the children, while the culinary program provides snacks on the day the bookcases are distributed. Students in the graphics program make the invitations and flyers to promote the event.
Various organizations throughout the Ashland community, such as the Lions Clubs, Rotary, the Norma Foundation, and the VFW, as well as partner organizations like Simonson Construction and other entities work with the Career Center in support of the project year after year.
This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Career Center's Ashland Bookcase Project building a love of reading