Author Archives: Katie Simmons

Audio – Tonight, Ranger Rick keeps a boy who loves frogs company in a domestic violence shelter

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…Oh my goodness, another just heartwarming, wonderful interaction… I just dropped off magazines at a women’s shelter… they happened to be having dinner, and this little boy was talking to the woman I was giving magazines to and she was saying the women love the magazines and this is great…

And, this boy came up and I introduced myself and said, “Hey, how old are you?”… and he said, “I’m in the second grade, but I should be in the third grade.”… and I said, “Do you like magazines?”… and he said, “I LOVE magazines!”… so I said, “Do you like nature?”… and he said, “I DO!”…and so I, of course, ran out to my Jeep, and gave him four Ranger Ricks, because he told me he loves frogs.

Oh my gosh! I almost started crying every time… just because, you know, I think… here he was as part of a family that was part of domestic violence, but yet now, he is just so happy when he sees the magazine and the woman even said to me, “Oh, I’m sure he is going to take them to bed tonight.”… and he has a little brother, so he told me he was going to give his little brother a magazine too!

Changing the world – one magazine at a time – A boy learns to read in a Boston homeless shelter

This letter that I received from the staff at the Boston Family Shelter demonstrates the value of the Magazine Harvest magazine recycling program. I am continuing my work to collect and deliver magazines to this program, as well as to a nearby Boys and Girls club and also to a program that has been helping the elderly for over 100 years.

Since Katie started dropping off magazines to our shelter the children really enjoy reading the magazines. When Katie stops by the shelter and drops off the magazines I put labels on them with the children’s name on them to make the magazines personalized. Katie thank you, for the labels. All the children love the magazines. Even though some of the children have moved into housing, they still come back to the shelter to look for the magazines.

There is a 9-year-old third grade boy that resides at the Boston Family Shelter. He was in the shelter for about 2 years. He has been reading below grade level for the past 2 years. He is an excellent reader, he just cannot comprehend what he reads. The first day this boy received his magazine, he said, “Wow!! Cool!!” He began to start reading as soon as he picked the magazine. I was so surprised to see him reading, because he always told me how much he hates to read. About two days later, he told me how he would read his magazine at school during quiet time, and he would let his friends read the magazines also. He reads to his 3-year-old sister more often, and now he is comfortable reading out loud.

The magazines have given this child more confidence. Before the magazines, he would skip over words instead of sounding them out. Now, when he reads, he sounds out the words. Even though he is going to summer school, his reading grade level for the last term went from a D to a B+. That is a great improvement.
The boy’s mother is extremely happy to see he is finally starting to read. Sometimes it is still hard to get him to read a book. When he goes to the library he takes out magazines.

This new beginning is a absolutely amazing for this child. We hope he will continue to improve the next school year. We at the Boston Family Shelter would like to thank Katie and all organizations that donate magazines to our shelter.

Maria
Boston Family Shelter

Collecting magazines from libraries and babysitting clubs

I just spoke with a gentleman who heads the town recycling efforts; recycling is mandatory. So we just had a long chat and I was asking him about different ideas for posting information about Magazine Harvest, and he said my best bet is to talk to the director of the whole library system. So, I am going to be in touch with him early next week. He said they get rid of so much paper at the library – books and magazines – and he said that the director is very environmentally conscious. He said that he would also be happy to help me out with doing some kind of posting on their website so that everyone in the community could maybe see the Magazine Harvest flyer, and perhaps we could say rather than put the magazines in your blue bin, bring them to a location that I could work out with this gentleman, and do it that way.

I was pretty excited because it’s a huge and prosperous town; a lot of people have families, so I think that would be really good to spread the word that way.

Another quick thing… my friend just emailed me that she put up a posting at her babysitting co-op, and I think that reaches out to about 100 mothers. I ordered a copy of the generic Magazine Harvest flyers so she could also post that at her other child’s babysitting website

So magazines coming from everywhere!

Visit to Shelter, Inc. in Boston

Today, I visited Shelter, Inc., which provides housing options and other supportive services to homeless families, to discuss whether and what magazines would be helpful.

I didn’t want to go empty handed, so brought along magazines that I have already collected, including a wonderful donation of National Geographic kids.

The staff were thrilled with the magazines and they gave me a list of all the family homeless shelters in Boston (of course, I wish none were needed), and some more ideas to follow-up on.

There is a wonderful organization, Cradles to Crayons, that provides children with everyday supplies such as clothing, shoes, books, school supplies, and toys.

They also suggested that I contact ReadBoston.

Boston-Next Steps

I have set up a meeting with Shelter, Inc. in Boston to see if donated magazines would be helpful and to determine what their needs are.

I have also begun reaching out to locations that will donate magazines, including a dentist office where, in addition to collecting the magazines they are ready to discard, staff are willing to bring in magazines, such as Highlights from home.

I volunteer with a Boys and Girls club where there seems to be a very keen interest by the children in having their own magazines. The staff thought it was a great idea to bring magazines for the children to read.

Boston KinderHarvest Gets Underway

As a volunteer with a 3-year program for 6, 7, and 8 grade inner city youth with focus on literacy, life skills and tennis here in Boston, as well as helping out at a local elementary school and boys and girls club, I see the need for getting interesting reading materials to children every day. I also want to focus on helping shelters and food banks because that seems to be a very dire need.

Here are some of my initial ideas and efforts:

  • I have a preschool teacher friend who agreed to have a collection bin for magazines. Many of the parents have older children so I am hoping they have subscriptions to donate.
  • I have another friend who is an elementary school Principal who will share Highlights magazines.
  • I have made contact with the children’s room at the local library, which agreed to share their older copies of magazines with children. I picked up Ladybug, Babybug, Cricket and Cobbletone.
  • I have a contact at a nearby hospital that receives monthly mags that they will donate when they are ready to discard them.
  • I will also asked a friend who is part of a babysitting co-op to reach out to a huge audience via email to ask if they would donate magazines.
  • I will also check with the local supermarket and pharmacy to see if I can set up a magazine drive.
  • I have contacted several pediatric dentists office in the area and my own dentist have been quite generous in offering to donate their Parents and children’s magazines from their waiting room and even the staff offered to send their gently used children’s magazines.

Thank you for your support!