The DeKalb/Sycamore Bookcase Project has made bookcases for children over the last 11 years. Every year in the spring, a group of volunteers craft 50 bookcases for 50 children, each complete with an engraved metal nameplate of the child’s name. The project continues to promote literacy by building handmade bookcases, filling them with books, and donating them to preschool-age children. The bookcases are gifted to children through a partnership with Two Rivers Head Start in Sycamore. Two Rivers provides childcare and services for youth up to five years old.
The DeKalb/Sycamore Bookcase Project came to fruition in DeKalb County thanks to former City of DeKalb mayor and current Bookcase Project Chairman John Rey. John heard about the bookcase project in another state and wanted to bring the idea close to home. “We understand the desperate need for literacy in children during those early years,” he said. “That basic foundation can have a long-lasting impact well into their adult years. And a personalized bookcase filled with a variety of books can be an excellent addition or a great start!”
In 2022, the DeKalb County Community Foundation granted $1,292 to the bookcase project. Funding was made possible through the Wiegele Family Early Childhood Literacy Fund at the Community Foundation. The Wiegele Family Early Childhood Literacy Fund supports early childhood literacy through organizations that provide direct outreach services to underserved populations of young children in DeKalb County. The Fund has provided over $10,000 in support to several organizations focused on literacy. Organizations include the DeKalb and Sycamore Public Libraries, the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic, Neighbors’ House, Kishwaukee Family YMCA, and more.
“The cost of wood and supplies increased drastically this year,” John added. “The grant from the Community Foundation came at an ideal time to help offset the out-of-pocket costs and continue the great tradition of promoting literacy to children. We are grateful to the Wiegele Fund donors for recognizing our efforts and partnering with us on this.”
The DeKalb/Sycamore Bookcase Project is managed by a team of local volunteers. These volunteers have a passion for woodworking, literacy, and philanthropy. For more information, please get in touch with John Rey at 815-762-9660 or visit the project’s Facebook Page. Book donations are accepted throughout the year at DeKalb County Housing Authority, 310 N. 6th Street, DeKalb.
“The Wiegele Family Early Childhood Literacy Fund was established in 2014 by Mary Wiegele to promote early childhood literacy,” remarked Teri Spartz, Foundation Community Engagement Director. “The Community Foundation is honored to continue Mary’s love of learning and passion for education.”
If the work of literacy and early care education is of interest to you, please consider partnering with the Community Foundation through a donation to an existing Fund or creating one of your own. Donations to any Fund, including the Wiegele Family Early Childhood Literacy Fund, can be made online, or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, IL 60178. For questions or additional information on early care and education efforts, please contact Teri Spartz at 815-748-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Donate to the Wiegele Family Early Childhood Literacy Fund >