When you open the door to the recently revealed Allen Robinson’s Reach for a Book Reading Room at the Bright Club, you are immediately struck with excitement. With the vibrant colors and books everywhere, it's hard not to pick one up and cozy up on a bean bag chair.
For the second time, the Allen Robinson Foundation partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago to open a reading room at the Bright Club located within Orville Bright Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago.
After a successful launch of the first reading room at the Linda and Bill Gantz Club, it made perfect sense to open a second reading room for our children and teens.
“From the time we started the foundation, we knew this was something we wanted to do,” Robinson said. “To be able to open our second reading zone in Chicago is huge for us.”
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Club members got to speak with Robinson and ask him questions like what are some of his favorite books, what kind of reader was he as a kid, and his favorite comic book hero (it’s Batman).
“We’ve been able to have a great relationship with the Boys & Girls Club throughout all of our events,” Robinson said. “We will continue to try to help ... it’s been awesome for us so far.”
To have a dedicated space for reading is crucial to encourage literacy and learning. Robinson said it’s rare to find a place in the city that kids can “relax, chill out and read in a comfortable space.”
Mimi LeClair, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, also noted the importance of having a dedicated room where kids can expand their horizons with no interruptions.
“There is something about vibrant colors that make such a difference about a room. Space is important in all of our lives, but in particular children,” LeClair said. “It improves their mood; it helps incentivize them to get reading, which allows them to enter other worlds through books.”
During the first summer of having Allen Robinson’s Reach for a Book Reading Room in 2019, the Gantz Club saw 30% more of its members reach 100 hours of reading during BGCC’s Summer Camp. They also had the most members ever participate in the summer reading challenge from the Chicago Public Library.
The Bright Club hopes the room will have a similar impact on their kids.
“Reading is the foundation of learning,” LeClair said. “It’s a way for our kids to relate to their peers and expand their horizons. I would love to see each of our Clubs with a room like the Allen Robinson Reading Room.”