The "Ham"

Reprint permission granted by The Blade.

Birmingham Terrace, in East Toledo, was the place to be Wednesday as Books 4 Buddies held a Back to School Block Party that had everyone feeling nothing but good vibes.

The eats, treats and beats, made baking under the hot July sun seem like a cool idea.

Books 4 Buddies doesn't move without its Book Ambassadors.  Three Ambassadors were on hand to  pass out string bags/school supplies, help children select books to read and register them for the raffle giveaway.  Those present were Jon Dolsey, Dorian Meyers and Justin Teamer.

Toledo Public Schools was well represented with employees doing everything from face painting to flipping burgers.  Robert Mendenhall, Curriculum Director for the district, was the grill master extraordinaire and DJ Chad filled the air with oldies but goodies making sure the block party lived up to its name.

Toledo Museum of Art shared information on their Books for Babies program and future exhibits.

Councilman Tyrone Riley generously donated a BMX style bike which was raffled off to the delight of one young man.

Future journalists, Joshua Danforth, covered the event for the Perrysburg Digital Media Club, intervening the Ambassadors and others with the aid of cameraman/mom, Yong.

Contributions from The Blade, The Toledo Lucas County Public Library and LMHA were also instrumental in making this event a success.

But by far the highlight of this block party was the time devoted to reading to the children. Gathered around a circular table, in the center of the grassy area, the interactive nature of the readers pulled the children into the stories.  Their faces and enthusiastic responses indicated the experience was not one sided.  The Ambassadors got things rolling with a Scooby-Doo book and then the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha, led by John Jones, took the activity to another level, making it a joy to witness. It was so motivating that one 9-year-old youngster asked if he could read, showcasing skills worthy of an Ambassador in waiting. 

Back to school never felt so good!!  Before leaving, the kids quickly gathered around the table to pick up lots of books and to get a Books4Buddies string bags filled with school supplies.

Other Books 4 Buddies team members on hand included Co-Founder/President, Laneta Goings, Lead MENtor, Christopher Smith and fellow board members Peter Hildebrandt, Robert Mendenhall, and Richard Jackson.  Thank you also to Dr. Tim Murnen/BGSU for his continued insight and support.