Pasadena Asbury Church leader brings book initiative to life

Pasadena Asbury Church leader brings book initiative to life
Posted on 04/20/2021
Pasadena Asbury Church leader brings book initiative to life

By Reesha Brown
PISD Communication

When Rev. Lindsay Kirkpatrick of Asbury Methodist Church was a young child, her father built a bookcase inside her bedroom. Her mother would take her to the bookstore every week so she could fill the shelves with the books she loved.

Kirkpatrick recognizes that not every child has access to books like she did as a child, so she made it her mission to do something about it for the children of Pasadena ISD.

Kirkpatrick worked with area churches and leaders in the school district, many of whom are also members at Asbury Church, to organize a book initiative that will provide each first grader in Pasadena ISD with books to take home.

“I know how a love for reading can propel a kid into deeper imagination, greater knowledge and bigger dreams. We learned that many young students in the school district didn't have a single book of their own at home, and we knew we could change that,” said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick was intent on gaining enough resources and support to provide books for not just one school, but every elementary school in the district. She realized to accomplish this goal she would need partners.

“We realized quickly that this was going to need to be a three-legged stool,” she said. “We didn't want to single one school out as deserving more than another, so we decided to go big and try to bless the whole district.”

Kirkpatrick invited churches involved in the Pasadena Church Alliance organization to take part in the initiative. Asbury Church, CT Church-Fairmont, First Baptist Church, New Wine Christian Fellowship Church and Parkgate Community Church teamed up to host a community-wide program called, “Christmas in Pasadena.” Through the fundraising event, the churches raised $5,000 in donations for books.

Realizing that a project of this magnitude would require more donations, Kirkpatrick reached out to the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation (BBLF) for support. The Foundation made a dollar-for-dollar match for all money raised through the book initiative, raising between both entities $10,000.

“The Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation showed some interest and became our third leg,” said Kirkpatrick. “From then on, it was just a matter of persevering through the details until we finally arrived at something that met all of our goals.”

Multiple organizations and businesses contributed various resources to ensure the success of the initiative, including: 21st Century Afterschool; Religious Institutions; Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation; Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union (GCEFCU); Pasadena Public Library; Pasadena ISD Special Programs, PISD’s Curriculum and Instruction Department; PISD Parent Coordinators, Library Services; Communities in Schools; and the PISD Communication Department.

A total of 10,200 books will be distributed to 3,430 first graders on April 30, which also coincides with “Children’s Day/Book Day - El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día),” a national library program that fosters literacy for children of all backgrounds.

During the celebrations, campuses will hand out bags containing three books, one with a bookplate, a bookmark, along with family involvement activities.

“We were just one church looking to bless the community and it grew to 3,430 first graders receiving three books, in partnership with five churches, the BBLF, PISD and the GCEFCU. If just one kid becomes brave enough to raise their hand and read in front of their class because of this, it'll be worth it,” Kirkpatrick said.

Bringing this project to fruition took collaboration and leadership across the board,” Kirkpatrick said.

“I want to thank Rhonda Parmer (Assoc. Superintendent of Campus Development) and Gloria Gallegos (Assoc. Superintendent of Special Programs), who were invaluable partners,” said Kirkpatrick. “Without them, this wouldn't have happened. Kime Smith, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at BBLF was wonderful to work with and the congregations of Parkgate Community, CT Church, New Wine Fellowship, First Baptist, and Asbury were the first ones to hold the vision for this project until it could become a reality.”

“I'm so grateful to everyone who made this possible -- for the school district realizing that the church could be a helpful partner, and I'm prayerful that God will work big things in the lives of the recipient students,” Kirkpatrick said.

Please continue to check back every week for more on this initiative! Here's a link to last week's story: Community effort to provide 3,400 first graders with books