Spotlight Grant Drive: Staff Picks
This year, the spotlight is on the CIP's new Spotlight Grant. We hosted a Spotlight Grant Drive at the 2019 Elks National Convention, entering each contributor of a new pack of socks, or a new to gently used children's book, into a raffle to double their Lodges Spotlight Grant to $4,000.

Check out which five Lodges doubled their Spotlight Grant by donating to the Spotlight Grant Drive at Convention here!

Here are the ENF staff picks!

Staff Member: Ashley, Donor Services Coordinator
Favorite Children's Book: "The Rainbow Fish"
"Besides the beautiful illustrations, I loved the message behind the story. 'The Rainbow Fish' taught me how to love and give freely—a reminder that having everything in the world means nothing if you have no one to share it with."

Staff Member: Makenna, Youth Programs Associate
Favorite Children's Book: "Charlotte's Web"
"My favorite children's book is 'Charlotte's Web' by E.B White. My grandmother read it to me when I was little, and it was the first longer book I read on my own. I love it because it's a great story of friendship and understanding that people are much more than what they appear at face value."

Staff Member: Taylor, Communications Coordinator
Favorite Children's Book: "Corduroy"
"As a little girl, I loved reading 'Corduroy.' It played on my fascination with getting locked inside of a mall, which I still hope happens to me one day. I can’t wait to see which books #ElksShare during Convention!"

Staff Member: John, Scholarships Elks Scholar Fellow
Favorite Children's Book: "The Kissing Hand"
"My favorite children's book is 'The Kissing Hand' by Audrey Penn. I love it because my mom would read it to my brother and me the night before the first day of school each year, from kindergarten until our first day of college."

Staff Member: Kate G., Donor Services Coordinator
Favorite Children's Book: "Katie's Kitten"
"I have read it countless times and still have the original copy I got 25 years ago. In the story, Katie lives in a cozy cabin with her kitten, Purr. One morning, as Katie is leaving for school, Purr tries to follow her and gets lost in the snow. As soon as Katie returns, she realizes that he’s missing. Even though it’s dark out, and Purr is being chased by some ferocious dogs, Katie is brave enough to go into the woods to save her friend. In the story, Katie is everything I aspire to be; independent, resourceful and loyal."

Staff Member: Chelsea, Lodge Grants Programs Associate
Favorite Children's Book: "Lola at the Library"
"As a kid, I went to the library every day after school so I could learn how to use a computer, research different topics, and find books using the Dewey Decimal system. In college, I worked in my university’s library, and as an adult, I visit my local Chinatown library once a week. Where else can you get loads of books for free!

In the book, children learn about the library, how to check out books, and have story time with Lola. Lola’s story encourages children to enjoy reading and gets them excited about visiting the library. It’s a great book for young readers."

Staff Member: Kevin, Summer Staff
Favorite Children's Book: "But Not the Hippopotamus"
"Here's a favorite kid's book from Director Jim O'Kelley's eldest son, Kevin, who's working part time for the ENF this summer. He loved Sandra Boynton books when he was little, and his favorite was 'But Not the Hippopotamus.'"

Staff Member: Kate, Development and Events Manager
Favorite Children's Book: "The Sneetches and Other Stories"
"It’s a great story about two types of creatures—separated by and judged upon their differences. Spoiler alert: In the end, the differences don’t matter! Classic, perfect Dr. Seuss."

Staff Member: Christine, Communications Senior Associate
Favorite Children's Book: "The Bear Under the Stairs"
"It's about a little boy named William who believes a bear is living in the closet under the stairs. Worried that the bear will get hungry and try to eat his family, he throws food leftovers into the closet. His mom discovers the food after she smells something coming from the closet. She talks to William about it who explains his fear. They investigate and find a rug that looks like a bear. I loved this book when I was a kid because I had a vivid imagination and could totally relate to William's fear! I even remember picking it out at my school’s book fair."

Staff Member: Meaghan, Lodge Grants Programs Coordinator
Favorite Children's Book: "Where the Wild Things Are"
"My favorite children's book is ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ by Maurice Sendak. It taught me the importance of relying on your imagination to combat the everyday doldrums of life—but not so heavily that you neglect the love, comfort, and empathy right in front of you."

Staff Member: Marcee, Donor Services Manager
Favorite Children's Book: "No Flying in the House"
"In grade school, it was so exciting to receive my Scholastic book order form, and I would beg my mom to order at least three books. ‘No Flying in the House,’ ‘David and the Phoenix,’ ‘Freckle Juice,’ ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,’ ‘Summer Pony,’ and the Frog and Toad series, along with many others have special places in my memories."

Staff Member: Claire, Donor Services Coordinator
Favorite Children's Book: "The Doubtful Guest"
"This story is about being absurdly yourself and your family and friends loving you for it anyway. Beauty can be found in life’s absurdities. 'The Doubtful Guest' portrays the acceptance of life’s randomness in a beautifully illustrated, silly book. It is always nice to be reminded that everyone can be a little silly in their own way, and still be accepted."

Staff Member: Claire, Donor Services Coordinator
Favorite Children's Book: "Are You My Mother?"
"It’s a classic story about a baby bird who hatches from its egg and leaves its nest to find its mother while she’s away getting food for her newborn. The baby bird asks a variety of animals and inanimate objects if they are its mother. This was my favorite because my own mother would read it to me using different voices and noises for the different characters, and I loved all the animals. And *SPOILER* the baby bird is reunited with its mom."

Staff Member: Colleen, Scholarships Manager
Favorite Children's Book: "Junie B. Jones and the Stupid, Smelly Bus"
"My favorite children's book is ‘Junie B. Jones and the Stupid, Smelly Bus’ by Barbara Park. It's one of the first chapter books I remember reading on my own, which I was quite proud of at the time. I can vividly remember tearing through this book and immediately going back to the library to check out more. It's a book that really solidified my love for reading. Plus, Junie B. Jones is hysterical—I read it with the student I tutor through Tutoring Chicago, and all the jokes still hold up."

Staff Member: Jane O'Kelley
Favorite Children's Book: "Ladybug Girl"
"Jane, who's 4, loves the Lady Bug Girl series. Her parents wanted her to read books with female protagonists so she could see herself as the main character. The stories are engaging and teach lessons about compromise, friendship, and putting on a brave face. Here's Jane's brave face!"

Staff Member: Patrick O'Kelley
Favorite Children's Book: "Where the Sidewalk Ends"
"Here's Patrick at the City Museum in St. Louis. It’s like something out of a Shel Silverstein poem. Like many 6-year-olds, Silverstein's books of poetry are among Patrick's favorites!"

Thank you to everyone who participated. We donated thousands of socks to local organizations, including five Elks Lodges, and 19 boxes of children's books to Ready Readers.

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