Cooper Schoenberg is accepting donations of new and gently used books for infants on up to 8-year-olds.
Cooper Schoenberg, 15, has been a volunteer with Detroit’s Northwest Activity Center for three years. “I’d go there once a week to help kids with their homework, with reading and other extra learning activities,” said the rising junior at Groves High School in Birmingham. While there, he learned how important it was for kids to have access to books. He was inspired to take action.
Schoenberg, also a member of the Jewish Fund Teen Board, is spearheading a book drive to benefit Brilliant Detroit, which offers a new approach to kindergarten readiness and a unique delivery model for early childhood development in Detroit. Brilliant Detroit creates early child and family centers in neighborhoods homes, providing year-round programming and services for children up to age 8.
“With schools and libraries currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been cut off from access to books,” Schoenberg said. “My goal is to get books into the homes of as many families served by Brilliant Detroit as possible so children can keep up their reading skills during the summer months.”
Schoenberg is accepting donations of new and gently used books for infants on up to 8-year-olds. “Everything from picture books to easy chapter books,” he said.
This isn’t his first book drive. For his Temple Israel bar mitzvah project, he hosted a book drive to benefit Beyond Basics, another literacy-focused nonprofit.
Since the stay-at-home order took effect, Schoenberg has some time on his hands. “Online school only takes a few hours a day,” said Schoenberg, who likes going for walks and working out. He plays basketball, tennis and lacrosse at Groves.
“This book drive will help to keep me busy.” He plans to run it through the summer.
To prevent the spread of coronavirus, he lets donated books sit for five days before he prepares them for delivery. After he packages them, he lets the boxes sit for another five days before shipping them to Brilliant Detroit.
This is his first partnership with the group. “We are grateful to Cooper for his invaluable assistance with our organization, especially during this time,” said Cindy Eggleton, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Detroit.
Eggleton hopes that is book drive will offer a new, wide array of books and stories for the children of the Brilliant Detroit families. To date, Brilliant Detroit has distributed more than 3,000 books to homes since the start of the pandemic.
Schoenberg lives in Birmingham with his parents, Karen and Jeff, and two younger twin sisters. He likes reading and just finished the classic Catcher in the Rye. He said he’s looking forward to collecting books and the end of the stay-at-home order so he can once again hang out with his friends.
Schoenberg is accepting drop-offs and offering to do pick-ups of books, Email him at email@example.com or direct message the Instagram page set up for the book drive @detroit_book_drive to make arrangements.