- Sponsorship -

‘Don’t think just because you’re a kid you can’t do it’

Students Win Grant to Open Pop-Up Library

Chloe Grifhorst and Lily Howland love reading books, especially fiction by authors like John Green and Margaret Peterson Haddix. They want others in Cedar Springs to enjoy books whenever they want, for free.

So the enterprising sixth-graders from Red Hawk Elementary went out and got themselves a $250 grant to build a Little Free Library – a free-standing structure where students and community members can take and give books as they choose. Chloe and Lily recently were awarded the grantfrom the Cedar Springs Education Foundation.

They’re now forming a committee to design and build a structure somewhere on the Cedar Springs Public Schools campus. They hope to collect donated books and have it open by school year’s end, to fill what they see as a community need.

“We know there’s (already) a library, but not all people have access to it on a daily basis,” Chloe explained. Added Lily, “We wanted to make sure people know how important reading is, and learn to love reading.”

The idea grew out of “geographic inquiry” discussions in teacher John Willette’s social-studies unit, in which he cited the nationwide Little Free Library movement as an example of how to implement a public project using data. The idea caught Lily and Chloe’s interest, and he suggested they form a group to build one with grant funding.

“I just sort of planted the seed,” Willette said. “From there, they’ve taken off with it.”

The students put together a persuasive PowerPoint presentation to the Education Foundation, in one week over lunch hours and recess. Within two days they learned they’d gotten the grant, much to their amazement.

Their advice to other students with big ideas? Chloe: “Don’t be afraid to try new things.” Lily: “Don’t think just because you’re a kid you can’t do it. You can meet your goals if you believe in yourself.”


Cedar Springs Education Foundation

Little Free Library

- Sponsorship -
Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.


Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Cohorted specials usher in ‘a new kind of community’

Cedar Trails Elementary School’s “specials” teachers — art, music, physical education and literacy and technology — have joined forces to create an outdoor recreation program...

Schools in nine districts announce closures as COVID cases spike

New temporary school building closures were announced by nine school districts in Kent ISD this week, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...

CARES funding helps schools meet COVID-related costs

Across Kent County, schools are benefitting from an infusion of funds thanks to $2 million from the Kent County Board of Commissioners via the Kent County CARES Act School Grant Program...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU