YMCA Book Fair Helps Write Bright Futures; Massive Sale Supports Reading and Tutoring Programs for Children and Adults throughout the Year

By Henderson, Jane | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 17, 2012 | Go to article overview

YMCA Book Fair Helps Write Bright Futures; Massive Sale Supports Reading and Tutoring Programs for Children and Adults throughout the Year


Henderson, Jane, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Kendell Myers was still struggling to decipher words such as "car" and "can" in third grade.

"I just wasn't the best reader," Myers, 18, recalled.

His mother, who knew he even lagged behind some kindergartners, signed up her 8-year-old for free tutoring through the YMCA.

"He was one of those kids who did not want to do homework, but once he learned how to read, I never had to help him again," said his mother, Yvonne Collins-Myers of St. Louis.

Not only did the tutoring help her son advance five grade levels in word comprehension, he's now the first in his family to attend college.

"Learning how to read opened his mind to education," Collins- Myers said.

Myers is now at Alabama A&M University, majoring in logistics management. As the freshman starts his first week of classes, the YMCA is holding its annual used book fair, which helps pay for literacy programs like the one that helped Myers succeed in school.

The 34th annual YMCA Bookfair opens tonight at the Kennedy Recreation Center, 6050 Wells Road in south St. Louis County.

Thousands of used novels and textbooks, CDs and DVDs, magazines and even some baseball cards go on sale at 4 p.m. The event ends at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

About 400 volunteers every year collect, sort and sell the books. This year, storytelling hours have been added to the event, along with crafts that "upcycle" unwanted books.

The sale, which outgrew the old Carondelet YMCA several years ago, has buyers from 20 states on its mailing list, says Caroline Mitchell, director of YMCA Community Literacy.

Rare items this year include an $800 complete set of Charles Dickens works, a 1904 "World's Fair Souvenir Cook Book," a miscellany of Scottish witchcraft called "Rowan Tree and Red Thread," and signed works by Jimmy Carter, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pat Boone.

Somewhere among the children's books may be a copy of the Shel Silverstein poems that Kendell Myers' tutor gave him their first year together.

When told he mentioned receiving "A Light in the Attic," the tutor, Cindy Teasdale McGowen said, "That's so cute he remembered."

"The Y does a really nice banquet each year for the students and the tutors," she said. …

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