One of The Mind Trust’s staff traditions our team cherishes most is our holiday service project. Normally, our whole team gathers to volunteer in a way that directly impacts Indianapolis schools and families. This tradition, like so many others, looks a little different for 2020. However, we were adamant that we find a way to do an act of service, even if it wasn’t possible for all of us to be together for an in-person project.
This year, we decided to purchase and deliver books for students at all 26 Community Learning Site locations currently in operation. These sites, which are small hubs that provide eLearning support and supervision at no cost to Indianapolis families, are located in community centers, churches, schools, and nonprofits in all areas of the city (click here to see all locations).
We asked our staff to suggest their favorite children’s book titles, and found a wonderful partner to help us make this project a success. Thank you to Beyond Barcodes Bookstore, an indie, Black-owned bookstore located in Kokomo, Indiana, for helping us select and order our books! DeAndra Beard, owner of Beyond Barcodes Bookstore, helped us curate an incredible list of multi-cultural titles, and made sure our delivery arrived in time for us to distribute books before the holiday break.
Our staff came in shifts to organize books throughout the week, creating packages based on the grade levels of students who attend each Community Learning Site. We also received enough of the 15,000 homework kits we created with Teachers’ Treasures, Teach Indy, and the 2022 College Football Playoff Indy Host Committee to be able to include a kit for every student at all Community Learning Site locations.
Team members then came to pick-up books and homework kits to deliver them to all 26 Community Learning Sites across the city. Students attending each site were able to pick out their own book and homework kit.
Although we weren’t physically together for our holiday service this year, we are grateful to our staff members who helped us find a new way to serve Indianapolis children as a team. As we end 2020, we want to thank everyone who has worked with us this year to meet critical needs and continue our core work. We cannot do this work alone, and we look forward to continuing to partner together in 2021 in service of Indianapolis students, families, and educators.