There's a new super hero in town...and he's got ABS!

DreamDog Foundation has started a City-wide literacy program supplying 20,000 books to children in need...and they are just beginning. There's a new super hero in town...and he's got ABS!



He's super because he is getting books into the hands of children who do not own their own books!

And he's got ABS!

Alexandria Book Shelf (ABS) is sharing the gift of reading...Reading is the #1 predictor of success in schools, yet many of our children, right here in Alexandria, do not own books of their own. ABS has decided to tackle this problem by providing children in need with access to books where they live, go to school, or just hang out. 

In the first few months of creating ABS, the DreamDog Foundation has set up bookshelves with more than 20,000 books for children in need. The name of the new program, ABS, plays on the fact that "Reading is at the CORE of all Education!" Each book is stickedred with the ABS logo (showing off his reading muscles). The books can be kept or returned to any ABS site. 


Jen Kenealy, a DreamDog Board member and ABS Coordinator, started the first collection with her daughter's Girl Scout Troop at Maury Elementary School. Her daughter, Claire helped collect thousands of gently loved books and said, "It was fun to go through all our own books and know they were getting new homes with someone who really needed them." 

In the first few months, ABS has provided books for children in need at: 

  • Preschools such as: Child Family Network Centers & ALIVE Child Development Center
  • Title 1 Schools in ACPS
  • Alexandria Recreational Centers
  • Alexandria Regional Housing Authority
  • FACE Centers (Family and Community Engagement Centers)
  • Head Start programs
  • Child Find and the preschool play groups they facilitate
  • Local shelters (including DVW shelters) and more

Elsie Akinbobola, Director of Mt. Venon, who oversaw a summer program with Candice Goines, including Charles Barrett, Cora Kelly, and Mt. Vernon Rec Centers, said that "ABS made sure all our kids had books to read all summer long. The books were right there, and they could take them home whenever they wanted. It was a huge success! ABS was our summer reading program, and they have come back many times to fill back up our shelves." 


The program received a Community Partnership Grant from ACPS to help fund their Title 1 schools and FACE Centers. This was a great start, but the need is tremendous and the number of places requesting an ABS site continues to grow. As with any new program, ABS has been a labor of love with friends and "Literacy Champions" coming together to help make it happen. For example, Jane Collins, Executive Director of "Give Out and Give Back" ran a workshop to provide a generous donation to purchase the first round of much-needed Spanish language books. Other community partners are stepping up to help out, such as local schools, including Charles Barrett, Maury, and Alexandria County day School, are doing book drives to bring more books to ABS. 


Jen Kenealy says, "We are so excited to see the number of groups supporting the program. There really are thousands of books out there to share. I am constantly amazed at the number of books that show up on my porch or in crates at schools. People really do want to give back and ABS provides an easy opportunity to make a difference."

Want to be a literacy champion? Take ACTion and donate books today! 

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