Original article posted in Sojourner’s Truth - Sojourner’s Truth Staff
Judge Connie Zemmelman, Lucas County Juvenile Court, and Judge Lisa McGowan, Lucas County Domestic Relations, stopped by the Books 4 Buddies (B4B) Meet and Greet on Saturday, May 13 at the Holland Branch Public Library to applaud in general the work of the youthful Ambassadors for their efforts in raising money and distributing books to underserved portions of the Toledo area population.
In particular, the judges praised a recent program initiated by the Ambassadors to distribute books to youths being held at the Juvenile Justice Detention Center.
That part of the program came about as a result of a meeting with Ambassador Jordan Topoleski, a junior at Sylvania Southview; MENtor Christopher Smith and B4B Founder Laneta Goings with the administrator of the Lucas County Juvenile Detention Center
Books 4 Buddies is a campaign that encourages literacy and provides leisure reading material, free of charge, to disadvantaged youth, especially boys, in northwest Ohio. The brainchild of Toledo native, Touré McCord and his grandmother, Goings, B4B receives support in the form of new and "gently used" donations from participating bookstores, local businesses and the general public.
Books 4 Buddies is represented by “Book Ambassadors,” area male teenagers, who help promote the program at public appearances and special events that include guest speakers and outings with local leaders and celebrities.
This year, the ranks of the Ambassadors have been supplemented by the addition of two exchange students from Africa – Birama Ndiaye from Senegal and Abdul Rafiq Lartey from Ghana.
Books 4 Buddies has donated thousands of books that have been delivered throughout NW Ohio and beyond.