Ready! Set! Read!


Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young was among the volunteer readers for the Sixth Annual Scholastic Book Fair recently held at William Pinderhughes Elementary-Middle School located on Gold Street in the Sandtown-Winchester community. Every student at the school was provided with “Scholastic Books Bucks” to purchase books.

Teachers at the school also received gift certificates to add books in their classrooms.

The event was hosted by the Enterprise Women’s Network (EWN), which advocates for, invests in and supports educational enrichment for children and better housing opportunities for their families and communities in and around Baltimore.

The event raised more than $8,000 and highlighted the fun and importance of books. Donations in support of the effort continue to come in from people across the community and country.

“Our goal was to raise $5,000 and we more than exceeded that,” said Sherry Phillips, education chair of the Enterprise Women’s Network.

EWN advocates for, invests in and supports educational enrichment for children and better housing opportunities for their families and communities in and around Baltimore.

“These students live in a disadvantaged community and don’t have access to regular books,” said Phillips. “We recognize that and are bringing books to them through this very special Book Fair.”

Since 2000, EWN has raised more than $2 million and contributed over 15,000 volunteer hours to support the work of Enterprise Community Partners, which has been building opportunity in Sandtown-Winchester since the 1990s.

EWN’s work has included mentoring students at Pinderhughes to build self-esteem; make healthy choices; to develop strategies to address problems; and achieve academic and life success.

“We wanted to give 200-plus students a book certificate to bring to the Book Fair,” said Phillips. “Excess funds will go to school events such as field day and cookouts. Hopefully, the memories of the event are instilled in the students. It was an overwhelming success.”

David Bowers, Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Market Leader for Enterprise Community Partners was among the volunteer readers.

“One of the students told us that they wanted to be a paleontologist, and there was a section of books on dinosaurs,” said Bowers. “Others indicated they wanted to go into gaming. To watch the students interact with one another and pick the books up was a success you can’t quantify.

“Kudos to the Enterprise Women’s Network and the great work that they do. Events like this provide students with a runway to dream and a doorway to what’s possible. Down the road, they can become what they aspired to be because someone took the time to read to them and put a book in their hand.”

Enterprise is a nonprofit that improves communities and people’s lives by making well-designed homes affordable. The company brings together partners, policy leadership and investments to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. According to the company, over the past 35 years, Enterprise has created nearly 585,000 homes, invested $43.6 billion and touched millions of lives.

“We are trying to foster and nurture opportunities that make life better for people,” said Bowers. “That is very important to the work that we do. Showing the community we care is critical. It’s important and powerful to pour into the lives of young people.”

Federico R. Adams is principal of Pinderhughes Elementary-Middle School.

“Our students and teachers are committed to learning, but often lack enough resources,” said Adams. “The Book Fair helps overcome that obstacle. The generosity of the community— both in time and money— enables our school to put our students on a smoother path to success.”