Tis’ the season for giving, and even in tough economic times, a five year-old Michiana boy shows us it's not about the money.
It's about helping others.
For the last few years, Stephen Shafer has been donating his allowance money to other kids who are less fortunate.
Last year, his mom says he donated his money to the pediatric ward. This year Stephen donated to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center's Reach Out and Read program.
Like all five year olds, Stephen likes to play hard, but he also likes to work hard.
We couldn't believe it when he told us how many books he's read this school year alone.
He says, “129 books.”
His mother, Karen Shafer says, “Stephen loves to read, so he was excited about helping other kids have books.”
He was so excited, that he had his mom write out a $75 check to the Reach Out and Read program. The check says his parents’ names, but it's his hard earned money.
Stephen says, “I saved it for one month, I helped bring out the trash, I helped watching my brother, and I do my homework.”
Julia Fashner says, “It really warmed our hearts and everyone on staff was amazed he'd be doing that.”
The Reach Out and Read program model is based on research that shows a connection between the frequency of sharing books with babies, toddlers and young children, and enhanced language development.
Doctors and nurses give new books to children at each well child visit from six months of age to five years. Each child will receive at least ten brand new books before starting kindergarten.
Fashner says, “I think every time we give out a book, we'll remember him now.”
So will the 140,000 Hoosier children who receive books through the program each year. Nationwide, it serves 3.5 million children and distributes over 5.7 million books annually.
Stephen says, “I wanted everyone to have books.”