More than 500 books will be given out to young people from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond.
The free event will have "face painting, story teller, and lots of free books," and the library will be offering free library card registration for those interested.
The free Book Giveaway is being hosted by the library and sponsored by Everyone Deserves A Chance (EDAC, www.facebook.com/EDACinfo), a Richmond-based nonprofit mentoring program founded by Therese Barquet.
In her work as a volunteer both at Juvenile Hall in Martinez and at the Richmond Police Activities League, Barquet began to notice that too many of the young people she has encountered have minimal reading skills that resulted in low self-esteem, an inability to better themselves or even function well in conventional society.
Barquet, who also serves on the Richmond Police Commission, noted that one 16-year-old she worked with was reading at a third grade level, and that was hardly an exception. "I was very disappointed to see how poor their reading skills were," she said.
The flier for the Book Giveaway notes that " 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate."
It also cites penal institution records concluding that "inmates have a 16 percent chance of returning to prison if they receive
That's how Barquet came to the idea of getting books into the hands of youths, getting them to sharpen their literacy skills, perhaps even giving them inspiration and enlightenment via the written word.
Barquet is a judicial assistant at the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, where she organized a book donation drive. The drive soon expanded to the nearby Federal Building in San Francisco, bringing in more than 500 books, most of them new.
"It's a big deal to get kids from these areas to be able to read," Barquet said. "We can't save them all, but if we try we can save some, and that's something."
Young people are not the only ones held back by poor reading skills, and the Literacy for Every Adult Program of the Richmond Library will also be at the event.
The Book Giveaway is co-sponsored by Satori's Circle (www.satoriscircle.com), a nonprofit mentoring program for young women in the Bay Area.
And the event is not a one-time deal. "We are going to do it again," Barquet said. "Maybe two a year."
For more details, contact Bree Brooks at 510-717-8424 or Barquet at 510-705-3535.
DOWNTOWN RICHMOND SUMMER KICKOFF: Farm fresh local produce and a fresh series of concerts with local talent are coming to Macdonald Avenue in Richmond starting Wednesday.
That's when Richmond Main Street Initiative is hosting the debut of the new farmers market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Nevin Plaza on Nevin Avenue and 13th Street.
The market, produced by the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association, will continue each Wednesday through October.
Richmond Main Street continues the festivities that day with its first Music on the Main concert of the summer from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the FoodsCo parking lot at 12th Street and Macdonald Avenue.
The free entertainment will include bluesman Jesse James, R&B crooner Reed Fromer and the young performers in The Originalz from the Richmond Police Activities League.
Richmond Main Street also says the kickoff concert will have "engaging activities for kids and an outdoor bazaar featuring local restaurants, entrepreneurs and community resource groups."
Details: www.richmondmainstreet.org or 510-236-4050.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: Friends of Five Creeks and the Albany Senior Center are sponsoring a walk for ages 50 and up to explore the north side of El Cerrito from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday.
The loop route will include "a volunteer-created wildflower garden, creeks, parks, Native American rock art, and four restoration projects."
Meet at Baxter Creek Gateway Park, Conlon at the Ohlone Greenway, accessible from the Del Norte BART Station. To RSVP for the free walk, call the senior center at 510-524-9122.