By Right Worshipful Brother Art Dunham
Brother Fred A. Stewart, a member of Paradise Valley Silver Trowel Lodge No. 29 in Phoenix, AZ created “Bikes For Books” in 1995. It has since spread through the Masonic Fraternity nationwide.
I became aware of Bikes For Books while visiting a Past Master in 2008 who now lives in Northern Maine. His son-in-law, also a Past Master from Madison, ME had started the program in Maine and shared his success stories with me.
In 2009, Benevolent Lodge No. 7 sponsored Bikes For Books at Heron Pond Elementary School in Milford. Masons provide bikes and helmets and the school sets up the reading program. Each time a student reads a book, their name goes into a bucket for a chance to win a new bike and helmet. That first year in Milford (2009) the children read 300 books and the teachers thought that was great! Last year (2017) they read 3500 books! Last year’s award ceremony is on the cover of this year’s 2018 voter guide.
In 2015, Benevolent Lodge No. 7, Milford received the New Hampshire Partners in Education Award “The Gold Circle School Partnership Award” for our Bikes For Books Program.
I’ve personally made presentations of this program from Portsmouth to Keene and am very pleased that several Lodges now are involved with their own Bike For Books Programs.
Benevolent Lodge No. 7 has also added several libraries to our Bikes For Books program. We recently participated in the Winter reading program at the Stephenson Memorial Library, Greenfield, NH.
Myself and Worshipful Brother Jon Manley watched two white doves and a white bunny in the magic show that preceded our presentation of two bikes and helmets to the winners.
For more information on Bikes for Books, contact Right Worshipful Brother Dunham at firstname.lastname@example.org.