Not many children would give up the opportunity to receive birthday gifts, but New Richmond resident Griffin Henderson did just that.
Henderson is the son of Lea and Mike Henderson. He is a first grader at Monroe Elementary School in New Richmond. Henderson recently asked his family and friends to bring new books to his birthday party instead of gifts for himself. He donated the books to Adopt a Book, a Loveland nonprofit.
Adopt a Book is dedicated to providing at-risk kids with books of their own. The nonprofit serves to foster literacy and a love of reading by distributing new and gently used books to disadvantaged children. To date, over 90,000 books have been distributed to children, schools and other nonprofit agencies in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
“When a child has a birthday party, there is such an abundance of gifts,” said Lea Henderson. “With Griffin’s birthday so close to Christmas, my husband and I felt that he didn’t need to have more toys. We decided we would have his guests bring books instead of gifts. We could then give those books to Adopt a Book so that other children could have an abundance of gifts.”
Henderson said her son was reluctant at first to give up his presents.
“Griffin turned seven in March. He really didn’t understand the idea of using his birthday to do good for less unfortunate kids. We looked at several websites and read blogs to see what other kids had done for charities. Some kids used their birthday parties to help charities, but the charities were global. His dad and I wanted to do something local.”
They found the Adopt a Book website and Griffin connected with the nonprofit because he loves to read.
Before reading about the organization, he didn’t know that many children in Cincinnati didn’t have books in their homes or that they didn’t have the opportunity to bring books home from the library.
His guests brought new books to his camping themed birthday party. “I was surprised by how many books that everybody brought for me,” said Griffin.
Lea’s stepmother is a retired teacher and she brought books from her collection. A family friend who works for a school asked friends and coworkers to donate books to the party. Mike’s cousin, Jamie Orth, from Wheeling, West Virginia also brought donated books.
“Griffin was excited about the gifts bin he set up for the donated books,” said his mom, Lea. “He enjoyed looking at all the books that were donated. He found some that he wanted to get himself, from the library. By not opening gifts, he really had more time to enjoy the party and his friends and family.”
Mike Henderson said, “Griffin wanted to meet the founders of Adopt a Book, 13 year-old twins, Hannah and Alexander Laman. He wanted to personally drop off the 231 books he collected, to the teens. He really enjoyed meeting the twins. They presented him with a certificate that stated, ‘In appreciation of providing disadvantaged children with books of their own.’ It was good for him to see other children acting in some a positive way to help kids in need.”
The twins, who love to read, were inspired to act and create the nonprofit, after they heard about children in Cincinnati who didn’t own books. Their mother, Angela Laman, acts as the Executive Director of Adopt A Book.
“March was an amazing and busy month for us and we could not have done it without the support and involvement of so many volunteers, such as Griffin Henderson and his parents, who helped sort, count, pick up and deliver books,” said Laman. “In March alone, we collected over 7,556 books. We are off to a great start in 2016.”
Adopt A Book accepts monetary donations and new and gently used books. Books are donated a few at a time or by boxes.
To make a donation of books or to hold organize a book drive, contact Angela Laman at email@example.com.
Monetary donations can be made payable to: Adopt A Book, and mailed to: 11918 Foxgate Way, Loveland, Ohio 45140.