CELEBRITIES HELP KICK OFF MY HOME LIBRARY INITIATIVE

Wade Smith engages children during the My Home Library kick-off event. Photo courtesy of Michelle Watson, CatchLight Group.

Wade Smith engages children during the My Home Library kick-off event. Photo courtesy of Michelle Watson, CatchLight Group.

On January 17 we kicked off the "My Home Library" pilot initiative at Browning Elementary School. My Home Library is an initiative aimed at providing more children access to books in the home. It uses a web-application developed by Credera which enables children to create a wish list of books and matches donors with a child in need. The initiative is generously sponsored by Phillips 66 and Marathon Oil Corporation and is supported by the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee through its Touchdown Houston Read On! program.

The reading rally kicking off the My Home Library was filled with celebrities and key leaders in our community, including Neil and Maria Bush, co-chairs of the Barbara Bush Houston Foundation; Wade Smith, former Houston Texans player and founder of the Wade Smith Foundation; Lee Tillman, Marathon Oil CEO; Anna Eastman, HISD Board of Education trustee; Herb Taylor, former Kansas City Chiefs player and owner of Ray's Real BBQ Pit; Chantelle Anderson, former WNBA player, San Antonio Stars; Sarah Marie Blanton, former Miss Texas; Caleb Ramsey, Professional baseball player, Washington Nationals; Albert Johnson III, former Miami Dolphin; and DjSupastar, 93.7 The Beat.

The program focused on the importance of reading and engaged children through a question and answer session with the celebrities through Reading with the Pros, a program of the Wade Smith Foundation. Following the reading rally, celebrities and community leaders read to children in their classrooms.

"This was a very special morning for our students," said Julia Elizondo, principal of Browning Elementary School. "The families and staff are deeply grateful to the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and Marathon Oil Corporation for being selected as the pilot school for the My Home Library Initiative. To become strong readers, our children need books in their homes so that they can read independently or with an adult."

Our 2017 goal is to provide at least 5,100 low-income children with their very own home library. Thanks to generous individual donors and significant contributions from Phillips 66 and Marathon Oil Corporation, we are making strides to reach our goal. We encourage you to join us by sponsoring a child in need by visiting MyHomeLibraryHouston.org.

Neil and Maria Bush and Dr. Finck stand alongside celebrities who volunteered to participate in the My Home Library kick-off event. 

Neil and Maria Bush and Dr. Finck stand alongside celebrities who volunteered to participate in the My Home Library kick-off event.