‘Brick-by-Book’ Kicks Off at Harms

And what a fun time it was!!!

By Renea Callery
2015-2016 EWI Foundation Director

Singing YMCAOn this rainy day of October 28, there’s excitement in the halls, children heading to the gym, settling in with crossed legs, smiling, laughing, eager to have some fun with the ladies of EWI and ready to sing YMCA, a Brick by Book tradition.

Students and teachers of Harms Elementary School are all gathered in the gym for the kick-off of Brick by Book – Building a School of Readers, a program developed and supported by EWI of Detroit-Windsor.  This year’s challenge goal to the children is to see who reads the most words throughout the school semester.  The students are awarded with small trinkets provided by EWI and are recognized by the school principal along the way so the children do not lose sight of their goal.

As the music starts, our passionate and committed volunteers, EWI members and friends, Leigh Ann & Tereza Hello, newlyweds Virginia Alan & Ron Harmon, Janice Laessiter, Victoria Bankowski, (our 2015 ASIST Scholarship winner) along with Marcia, the President of Phi Theta Kappa, our EWI President Cindy Nunnery and I slip on our “construction gear” of hard hats and tool belts.  The children, engaged and excited, join us in singing and dancing to the high-spirited song, YMCA.

This day, the children missed seeing their favorite high school student and budding author, Sheridan Nunnery, who inspired and challenged them to write a book.  Sheridan sent a message, through her mom who showed her book to the students, telling them she had an important test to take that day.  She promised to visit them on her first day off so she could read to them her newly published book, “King of the Mountain.”

Leaving the gym, the children were fueled with encouragement and promised to “read, read, read.”  It was another successful Reading Rally kick-off at the southwest Detroit elementary school.

In describing our program, Madeleine Phillips, sustaining member of EWI of Detroit-Windsor, put it in words that truly describe what EWI does for these children.

“This [reading/writing] program is used in hopes to cultivate a new narrative for the future of our city, rooted in the creativity and vision of its youth. The program will help the children with their expressions, communication, and self-respect.  These children have been allowed to open their mind, to share their feelings whether they are good or bad, scary or lonely.  It allows them to not be afraid to speak.

“Poetry is the highest form of literary art and in learning it – they are also learning to communicate well in their general speaking and writing.”

As Chair of EWI’s Reading Rally and Authors Under Construction programs, I would like to thank all the volunteers and everyone involved for their efforts and financial support  for EWI’s literacy programs at Harms Elementary School. You are making a difference to these children.

Renea 🙂












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