URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Reading is fundamental to child development, which is why Crisis Nursery in Urbana is working with Books from Brek to help vulnerable children find joy in reading.
Books from Brek is a nonprofit organization that started in 2016. Their mission is to help give books to at-risk youth throughout Champaign County. The namesake of the organization belongs to young booklover Brek Neiswender, whom the organization was created in memory of.
Brek is the grandson of Perry and Rita Soldwedel, who both started the foundation.
“I know how, from my experience, how valuable it is for children to be exposed to books to be read to, from ages newborn to five,” Rita said. “Brek loved books, like he would sit on your lap for hours and listen to books. He just loved them.”
“We really wanted something to keep Brek’s memory alive. Something for our family to be able to be very positive about, look forward to and to celebrate,” Perry said.
Books from Brek has partnered with Crisis Nursery since 2016.
“Crisis Nursery’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect. We do this by providing 24-hour emergency child care and support to strengthen families in crisis,” said Operations Director Rachael Graham.
Last week, the organization dropped over 4,000 books to Crisis Nursery with the help of some University of Illinois athletes.
“This here was a very special delivery from Books from Brek,” Graham said. “We had Terrence Shannon Jr. and Justin Harmon help the family bag books at the library and then bring them over here, deliver them and then we distributed them to children.”
This year, the organizations set a goal to donate 40,000 books. Brek’s grandparents said they are continuously dedicated to celebrating Brek’s life and him as an individual. Sept. 12 marked his 9th birthday.
Those hoping to make a donation may do through their website.