Saint John community centre gives children the gift of reading for the holidays

Fri, Dec 7: Families in one of Saint John's priority neighbourhoods got to choose from more than 150 titles. Silas Brown has more.

Several kids in Saint John’s north end are going to be sitting down with a good book over the holidays, all thanks to a local community centre.

Families in one of Saint John’s priority neighbourhoods are being given the opportunity to choose from more than 150 titles at the Nick Nicolle Community Centre through The One Change program.

Program executive director Barry Galloway says it’s all part of giving the gift of family during the holiday season.

“I believe, and a lot of people in our neighbourhood believe at Christmas time, it’s not about the gifts necessarily. It’s about the time you spend with your kids,” Galloway says.

“And for me, probably the best time you can spend with your kids is reading to them.”

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The books are leftovers from a large Books Canada donation that was distributed to schools in the north end last spring. Now the 168 titles are being given out for free to parents in the north end.

Parent Desiree Mitchell says it’s a wonderful chance for kids to get their hands on books.

“I think it’s great for kids to be able to have access to good quality books that they can read with their family,” she says.

“I think it’s great for anybody at any age.”

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Sharon Wright was at the centre on Friday to get books for her three kids. She says teaching a love of reading to her youngsters is important.

“I read books at a very young age. I have a 10-year-old who just loves to read and I love to instill that in my kids, because it’s very important for kids to read,” says Wright.

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Wright believes that a love of reading is a common bond she shares with her children.

“My eight-year-old has a vivid imagination, so when we read together. It’s like everything is just playing as a movie in his head, and he always tells me, ‘Mom, I can see this in my head, this is so wonderful.’ I love reading with them.”

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Galloway says the giveaway is close to his heart. While growing up in Newfoundland, a love of reading was an important aspect to his family life.

“No matter what else we had we were able to read, and for my family they felt this was the solution, this was a way out,” he says.

Galloway adds that allowing others that chance to fall in love with learning is why the giveaway was so special.

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