Wright’s Furniture presents Bookcases: ‘Read to Achieve’ Award

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Ten future leaders from the Pre-Kindergarten classes at Gonzales Primary School, assisted by Librarian, Anne Bergeron and Library Clerk, Debra Cambre, were awarded their own personal bookcase. The "Read to Achieve" award was presented in an effort to support and encourage reading as a lifelong positive habit.

Mark LaCour built the bookcases in his garage. He is a member of the Gonzales Rotary Club and he and his wife Debbie are the owners of Wright Furniture.

One of Rotary's Avenues of Service is Vocational Service: using your professional skills and expertise to addressing societal problems and needs. The purpose of this project is to stress the importance of the surroundings is developing a love of reading, with all its merits.

The Gonzales Rotary Club has distributed over $300,000 in books over the past 5 years.

The Rotary District 6200 in a partnership with the International Orthodox Christian Charities have annually delivered millions of dollars of literature throughout south Louisiana. Over the years, Mark and Tony "Oosie" Malbrough drove to the distribution points; selected and loaded books stored in Wright’s Furniture warehouse and then brainstormed methods for passing out the valuable commodity.

Several methods have been used: handing out from the Rotary Christmas float instead of candy, displaying free books at the Gonzales Health Unit, local library delivering to area nurseries, and supplying to food banks who insert the books into grocery bags given to families with children.

While working on this book distribution project, Mark often wondered where the books ended up? Were they in closets, under beds or sofas? Just where did the books end up?

This lead to the conclusion that in order for a child to enjoy “mind enriching” reading and to prefer reading over the entertainment of TV, the right atmosphere was needed. The surroundings must include three necessities: a comfortable chair, good lighting, and a bookcase to display the books, giving them importance. By displaying books on a bookcase, you give the books meaning and make it appealing to select one to read. Therefore, the creation of the Bookcase Project came to mind.

These ten, 24” X 48” bookcases, were built in Mark's garage and painted using leftover paint, adding an ecology element. Anytime he got worn-out or discouraged he would think about the young faces when they received their very own colorful, personalized bookcase. The bookcases were awarded to the students with a name plate with the “Students Name” and “Personal Library” prominent at top front! Along with the bookcase, other items were supplied: a Webster dictionary, a piggy bank, magic markers, a notebook, a special book on the importance of LISTENING, plus 20 books to start their personal library.

One of the ingredients of this literacy project is to have the parents present. During the 20 minute presentation, Mark went over several topics: 1) Developing the reading habit with a conducive environment; a chair and lighting located close to the bookcase and away from any distracting noise. 2) The importance of being a good example. Parents were given, to remind them that their child will copy their actions, two poems: "Sermons We See" and "A Careful Man." 3) The importance of LISTENING. 4) Value of money and savings. 5) Vocabulary development. 6) Saying positive things to their child; parent’s guidance and support is necessary and important. 7) The importance of shopping for and reading books as a family.

The Bookcase project will be a yearly Vocational Service event from Wright's Furniture; supplying 60 Pre-K students with a personal “Learning Center.” The librarians, Anne and Debra will monitor and encourage the recipients in developing and using their Bookcase: also, to share photos of their growing personal library. Through this project, the students are shown that the community cares about their education and success. With encouragement and positive messages from the parents, plus the students pride in developing their very own personal library, these students will have a distinct advantage and be motivated in becoming the future leaders of our community and nation.

Students receiving the Read to Achieve Award on May 19: Myrien Perrier, Hailei Martin, Khloe Lane, Brycen Williams, Kaden Richard, Emily Thomas, Nyla Wenzy, Malaiyah Brown, Tylen Patterson, and Stephen Rene.