In collaboration with the Camarillo Amber’s Light Lions Club, Macy’s donated over 1,000 books to Many Mansions! Current subscribers can view the article and pictures online through the VC Star website.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Diego Sanchez’s face lit up as Del Hernandez, store manager of Macy’s Thousand Oaks, asked him if he liked to read.
The question came Tuesday at the Many Mansions Shadow Hills homework club. Macy’s provided 1,035 books through the Reading is Fundamental campaign.
The youngsters, ranging in age from 5 to 11, were allowed to choose a book to take home.
Diego, 8, picked a “Star Wars” book.
“I love Star Wars,” he said. “I like the Jedi.”
Hernandez was delighted. He said every Macy’s was allowed to choose a local organization that would benefit from the program.
“Seeing those smiles is what it’s all about,” Hernandez said. “This is awesome to see right here, down the street from our store, how we are impacting children right here in Thousand Oaks.”
Chris Graham, secretary of the Camarillo Amber’s Light Lions Club, said the organization was thrilled to link Macy’s with Many Mansions, which provides affordable housing to low-income families.
“It’s wonderful to help kids have books of their own,” Graham said. “Anytime you can help a child learn to read, the better they will be in this society.”
Rebecca Evans, vice president of services and resources for Many Mansions, concurred.
“These books are going to be used in our homework and tutoring club, and they will get to take one home with them,” Evans said. “We also were able to get copies of topical books, such as books about space and the rain forest, so this summer during our Many Mansions summer camp experience, youth will learn about a topic for a week and at the end of the week, be able to take a book to keep and read again and again.”
Many Mansions’ Heather McLeod, community outreach and public relations coordinator, and Coreen Ellrott, associate director of children services, said they had a blast handpicking every book.
“It was so much fun reminiscing about the books we read as kids and the books my kids read,” McLeod said. “We remembered so many great titles.”
Curious George was one of the characters that crossed generations, and it was a book featuring him that Valeria Casanova, 6, chose, adding that she doesn’t know how to read.
“My brothers will have to read it to me,” she said.
Her 9-year-old brother, Israel, promised he would. He selected a “Star Wars” book for himself.
“I don’t like Curious George much, but I’ll read to her and help her learn how to read,” he said.
The eldest brother, Jesus, 10, picked a “Star Wars” book, as well.
“I’ll help my sister, too,” Jesus said. “I think what they’re doing today is great. It’s nice to meet the people from Macy’s who are giving us the books, and it’s great that they’re letting us have one to take home. That makes me happy.”
At age 5, Jada Riley already knows how to read. She chose the book, “Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes.”
“I read this book at school, so I wanted to have it at home,” Jada said.
Evans watched the children and smiled.
“Today means the world to us,” Evans said. “We are so appreciative for the partnership with Macy’s, as well as the Lions Club of Camarillo. These books are going to go a long way in educating our youth and in helping them achieve greater academic attainment and break the cycle of poverty.”