Teens To Build 200 Mobile Libraries; ‘Take A Book, Read A Book, Leave A Book’

Students from across the city have been measuring, cutting, drilling and painting this summer.

They’ve united with one goal in mind–to build 200 mobile libraries for their communities. They’ll also fill them up with free books ranging from bedtime stories to fictional novels.

“I think it can be helpful in the long run because kids are on social media, so by building this we will help expand people’s knowledge and help them read more,” said 18-year-old Mychael Thompson, a senior at Julian High School.

One Summer Chicago kicked off on July 2. Le Penseur Youth & Family Services Center is one of nearly 2,000 work sites providing 32,000 jobs and internships to young people ages 14-24 this summer, more than double from when the program launched in 2011.

The goal of the Block Club, Book Club program, said President and CEO Reginald Summerrise, is to fill the mobile libraries with free books and distribute to block clubs throughout the city. The program concludes Aug. 10

This is their first summer building and distributing them through One Summer Chicago, but earlier this year they built 10, Summerrise said. The center is a partner in the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative and first built the mobile libraries to better serve the neighborhoods where its young mentees lived.

Thompson said he had very little experience working with his hands before this summer job.

“I’ve painted before, but this is another level,” he said, adding that meeting new people has made the experience even better.

“We’re all just enjoying our time and we’re united in doing this,” he said.

The program attracted more females than males, Summerrise said.

“It’s dominated by girls,” he said. “This is not a gender-specific program. We encourage young ladies to learn these skills because one day they may own their own house or they may be in their apartment and something breaks.”

Nyla Jones, a Butler High School sophomore, said she was excited to apply for this summer job.

“I wanted a new type of job experience,” she said. “I wanted to learn how to do more construction so when I’m at home, grown, I can learn how to do housework without having to call somebody or pay somebody.”

Her experience has been more than measuring and cutting wood, she said.

“It’s more than just an experience to me, it’s like a life lesson for my future. I’m learning not only work ethic, but stuff from my mentors that’s helping me guide myself into a better place for when I’m older.

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