UPDATED: “SeeMe. ReadMe.” project raises $4,500 to buy culturally representative books for city youth

More than $4,500 was raised in a first-ever effort to put culturally representative books into the hands of our community’s children.

The project was a partnership between the School District of La Crosse and a community group, Showing Up for Racial Justice. The project addresses a community need for books that represent people and children of color as heroes and protagonists.

About $2,700 was raised through an online donation page hosted by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation — and additional donations made by check brought the net total to $3,534.50 after processing costs. The donation page was closed Aug. 7.

Two additional grants of $500 each were received from funds at the La Crosse Community Foundation, bringing the total raised to more than $4,500.

The project coordinators are now moving quickly to purchase books from a list vetted by experts in the community. Books will be available for distribution at both the Mathy Center and Erickson Club of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse at their Back-to-School events on Aug. 24.  In addition, the group is planning to hold a “Read Me” event on Sunday, Aug. 27 at both North and South La Crosse locations for children and young adults who received books to come and read their book to community adults, or have a book read to them by community adults.

The group hopes to have some books available for give away to children who were not able to attend the Boys & Girls Club event on Aug. 24. Any remaining books not distributed directly to children will be given out to School District of La Crosse teachers through a “grant” application process for use in their classroom libraries.