- Lena Gonzalez Berrios, International Library Lead, e3kids
e3kids International supports libraries because they provide a catalyst for learning and a venue for collaboration, literacy and leadership development.
Our mission to equip, empower and educate youth drives our library initiatives. We know that investment in literacy, STEM education, and teacher training transforms lives and gives youth the tools to overcome the cycle of extreme poverty. By establishing libraries as vibrant learning spaces for each school community, students get excited about learning and value education. They strive toward academic excellence and invest in their local communities as mentors, leaders, and change makers. e3kids International is helping students realize their potential and make a difference around the globe.
Since 2012, e3kids International has built 2 school libraries in Mombasa, Kenya and is in the initial planning phase to build a school library in Zacapa, Guatemala. We approach these projects as partners with the schools, and customize the library program to meet their needs. In the process, we have developed a model to replicate where God opens the door.
Starting in 2012 librarian Brenda Storms, with support from her Rotary Club, laid the groundwork for two school libraries on the Jomvu and Mikindani campuses of the Royal Comprehensive School (Mombasa, Kenya). Storms worked to transform a dorm room into a library, installing shelving and purchasing starter collections that immediately engaged students’ thirst for reading and knowledge. Over time the seeds she planted blossomed into a school-wide library program, initiated by librarian Lena Gonzalez Berrios, including an expanded collection of materials, enrichment learning activities to promote STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), teacher training and opportunities for creative expression including art and reader’s theater. Working toward a sustainable model, e3kids partnered with school administrators and young teachers to train student library assistants with the goal to increase student access, maintain library resources and provide mentoring and leadership development opportunities.
In addition to the traditional school libraries, e3Kids recognized the need to saturate the entire school environment with literacy materials and build classroom book collections for academic support. By 2017 all Mikindani classrooms have been outfitted with book cabinets and a selection of books, although there is still a need to expand the classroom library initiative to the Jomvu campus classrooms.
In Zacapa, Guatemala, e3kids is in the planning phase of developing a school library that would serve the orphanage on the Hope of Life campus and the children of Safe Haven Village. Partnering with Rotary and Hope of Life, e3kids is committed to customize a school library that will support the educational needs of the students and enrich the educational resources
Beyond our partner schools, e3kids strives to cultivate a community that values literacy and benefits from our library program. Books have been donated to an orphanage and a Shofco public library, located in the heart of the slum that many Royal students reside in. By partnering with organizations around the globe, e3kids aims to live out our mission to equip, empower and educate youth.
2019 marks a milestone! In honor of the 10th anniversary of e3kids international, the Library Project aims to raise $10,000 to enhance current supported libraries in Kenya and to jumpstart the school library Guatemala. Break the cycle of poverty. Put books in the hands of children!