Charitable Works
Ecorse Public Library (2006-7)

WNBA-Detroit helped the Ecorse Public Library with its "wish list" of needs and wants, providing donations of new and gently-used books, equipment, and supplies. The chapter also set up a fund for member donations to purchase wish list items. For more details see Special Projects.

Book Donation Projects

The Detroit Chapter made a special donation of the forty books on the chapter’s Diversity Bibliography to the Ecorse Public Library as a special WNBA 90th anniversary project. Additionally, Girl Scout Alice Hoffman collected over 1600 books for the library. For more details see Special Projects.

"Wireman" Literacy Comic Books (2007)
The chapter contributed to a Michigan author in support of her “Wireman” comic book series that improves literacy. According to the author’s website, the “Wireman” comic series was eight years in the making and was designed to meet a need for literature that appealed to late, reluctant, and non-English speaking readers.

The “Wireman” series of comic books is aimed at improving literacy in urban youth and is provided free to educators. Children’s book author Sue Stauffacher, who spoke to WNBA-Detroit in September, writes “Wireman” as a labor of love. Ms. Stauffacher indicated that it is very expensive to pay the artist and printer to produce the finished comic books. Chapter President Cindy Dooley, the librarian at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility, is enthusiastic about using “Wireman” with her patrons who have poor reading skills but want stories that are a better reflection of their interests than “baby books.”

Ecorse Public Library (2006)
The chapter helped support the Friends of the Ecorse Public Library's Gifts of Warmth program for Ecorse residents needing assistance during the winter.

The Gifts of Warmth program, held just before Christmas, is a Saturday afternoon at the Library with snacks, crafts, and games. The program also provides food, new gloves, hats, scarves, and socks to attendees, as well as new books and toys to the children. The Ecorse Friends have provided this program for 4 years, and each year the need for assistance has grown.

WNBA Detroit donated funds to help Gifts of Warmth. The first $100 of this donation came from the chapter treasury, while the remaining gift was given from chapter members' donations. In addition, chapter member Willetta Heising donated food and books to Gifts of Warmth, as well as a gently-used TV with VCR to the library.

In their thank-you letters, Ecorse Public Library ( Director Denise Howard and Friends President Anita Zelmon noted that the Gifts of Warmth program helped over 300 patrons while the children watched holiday movies on the newly donated TV/VCR.

School in Nigeria Africa (2006)
In December 2006, the chapter donated over 100 bookmarks to a book drive by the Society of Future Teachers chapter at Madonna University. The bookmarks were bound for a newly opened mission school in Nigeria, Africa, which educates students in Grades K-8. The new school replaces a school that was destroyed by the war in Nigeria. The bookmarks are pastel die-cuts on cardstock in the shape of a bookworm, a teddy bear, and a dinosaur. Each bookmark has a sticker with the chapter logo.
ACCESS (2004)
A fundraising Tea was held on November 2, 2004 to benefit a domestic violence shelter. WNBA Detroit members gathered to meet for a luncheon of appetizers, tea, chili, garlic bread, and desserts. About a dozen chapter members collected a variety of needed goods for the shelters.

The group collected two carloads of clothing, new socks and underwear for women and children, 2 bikes, a dollhouse, a toy box, children's table and chairs, a Leggo® game table, lots of personal toiletries, new stuffed animals and Crayola® sets, fans, a vacuum cleaner, a lamp, children's books, office supplies, store gift cards, and more.

All of the collected goods were picked up by ACCESS the Arab-American community group in Dearborn, which runs the domestic violence shelter as part of its health prevention services. The people at ACCESS were very grateful for the donated goods, especially the new items and the gift cards, which could be used as Christmas gifts for their clients.

Dominican Adult Literacy Center (2002-2003)
The DLC is an adult learning center on Detroit's eastside to which the chapter has made a financial contribution. The Center provides free one-to-one tutoring to help adults improve their skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, mathematics, and basic computer, thus preparing them to successfully live out their role as parent, worker, and/or citizen. All tutoring is done at the center and all materials are provided.
Eastside Emergency Shelter (1990-1998)
The Detroit Chapter provided adult and children's books and magazines to the homeless at the Eastside Emergency Shelter in Detroit. The director of the Shelter has found this to be a valuable service to those using her facility, the majority of whom are homeless women and children.
Greenfield Union School in Detroit (2004)
On Wednesday, November 3, 2004, I had the honor of delivering the books to the Greenfield Union School in Detroit as part of an overall effort to re-establish a school library. The students and staff were welcoming and excited to receive the donation. WNBA was not the only contributor to the project. The school had been contacted by various organizations and alumni who read the story about book donations to schools in the Detroit Free Press on October 1, 2004.

Several volunteers have transformed the old kindergarten classroom into an inviting library environment. Leather cushions were made and donated for the window seats. Other volunteers built bookshelves. One of the teachers graciously donated funds to purchase a large area rug with a map of the United States pattern. A gem turned up in the classroom during cleaning. A beautiful fireplace and a short drinking fountain alcove were discovered. They are made with Pewabic tiles and have a Mother Goose motif.

A class came into the library while I was there. They looked to be about 1st or 2nd graders. They came in with a book tucked under their arms, sat down quietly and waited for instructions from the teacher -- a very heartwarming scene.

Oakland Literacy Council (2002-2003)
Personal and Chapter donations were made to the Oakland Literacy Council which provides basic literacy and English language instruction to adults in order to facilitate lifelong learning, employment skills and personal well-being. Increased literacy enables students to achieve personal and education goals, participate in the democratic process, increase workplace productivity, and strengthen family literacy habits, thereby improving the overall quality of life.
Seedlings Braille Books for Children (1998- )
A "What Detroit Reads" program was held in Spring 1998 as a fund raiser for Seedlings Braille Books so that books could still be affordable for blind children. The Chapter has made monetary contributions as well as purchased a bookcase from the proceeds of a holiday card sale.

When Director Debra Bonde founded Seedlings in 1984, Braille materials for visually impaired children were cost-prohibitive for most families, with price tags ranging from $30 to $60. Ms. Bonde wanted to promote literacy by providing inexpensive, high-quality literature for these children. That first year, Seedlings distributed some 20,000 books each year to children all over the world and the average price remains $10. Grants, fundraisers, individual and corporate donations, and the time and expertise of many volunteers combine to help make this lower price possible. Currently there are 600 titles in the Seedlings catalog, including such classics as The Cat in the Hat, The Secret Garden, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Simon House (1991-1999)
The Chapter began to donate adult and children's books to Simon House, a home for mothers with children who have AIDS. Recently, the Director of Simon House shared the following story.

Approximately twelve months ago a family of three girls, ages six months, two-and-four- years-old, came to Simon House. When they arrived, the youngest acted much like a newborn would. She was significantly behind in her development. Since that time, she has become interested in the books which we donated, particularly Pinocchio and Donald Duck. The girls along with their mother are now ready to move from Simon House to their own home, taking their favorite books along with them.

Yarn began to be collected and delivered to a senior citizen who makes afghans for the children with AIDS at Simon House. The senior, a crocheting whiz, completed three in a single month.

Simon House renovated an eleven-unit apartment house for emergency and longer-term shelter for HIV/AIDS infected women and their children. With an average stay of three to six months, the shelter is their home, a place where they can live independently. Chapter members hosted a kitchen shower for the new apartment units, donating for every apartment, slow cookers, flatware, china, glasses, and storage containers.

Tabs for Tots (1996-2000)
The American Legion Posts collect pop or beer can tabs, turn them in for scrap metal, and use the funds collected to purchase pediatric medical equipment, especially for emergency and various medical care facilities. The chapter collected tabs for the Monroe County Post.