2020 was unexpected in so many ways. We could not have seen the pandemic coming. In the months since the quarantine began; we have learned to listen, remain flexible and be open to new ideas. We are blessed to have a staff, board and volunteers that are truly dedicated to our mission of connecting children to their incarcerated mothers through the power of literature. Your support helped us continue despite in a year of challenges.
Throughout 2020, team leaders and volunteers wrote to our Storybook Project participants and alumni offering them the chance to send books and messages of love to their children. Mothers responded joyfully and we were able to reach hundreds of children.
During the year we brought on two new team members: Charli Krause (volunteer coordinator) and Ismael Rangel (tech coordinator.) They have been instrumental in helping us stay connected with team leaders and all volunteers. Expanding our team has been phenomenal and helped us reach new heights. #StorybookSaturday programming has helped volunteers stay involved with our program. All our computers have been upgraded with new memory and are updated – ready to return to regularly scheduled programs. Five interns from local colleges also joined us in 2020 and were important to our progress in outreach, communication and grant research.
We have partnered with the Windham School District, within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, to begin new sessions of WSP by Mail. This new four-month program will include bonding activities for mother and child, and a chance to read aloud The Invisible String to their children over the phone. When we return to in-person service, we will continue the WSP by Mail program for any WSP alumni, effectively allowing us to double our service. #DoubleTheDream.
New friends joined in fundraising and spreading awareness for WSP. Students at the University of North Texas started a project in fall 2020 to help out. Through social media and local events, they raised over $1,500 and dozens of books. Barnes and Noble Holiday Book Drive and Pi Beta Phi have restocked the bookshelves for the new year.
All of us at the Women’s Storybook Project office are exceedingly grateful for you, the volunteers and supporters who helped us weather the year and achieve new milestones. We wish you health, safety and happiness in this new year and look forward to eventually seeing you again in person.
Jill González, Executive Director