Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera
We're back! It's been way too long since our last post, but we've had several kindness opportunities in the works. The latest involves collecting books for a family of children in Tampa who recently lost something they loved best in the world -- their books.
This one is for Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, whose friends and family recall as someone who "... was always willing to help everybody. He sacrificed himself a lot for his family."
Like Eric, Ronda O'Farrell helps others -- children who she comes to love as family. Ronda is a friend of our Yaya's who volunteers for the Florida Guardian Ad Litem program in Hillsborough County. Guardians ad Litem (GALs) are volunteers appointed by the court to advocate for the best interest of children who has been abused, neglected or abandoned. Most kids being assisted by GALs have been removed from their homes and placed with relatives or foster parents.
During their recent relocation, the children Ronda is helping had to leave all their books behind. Like Brock and Molly, they're avid readers. In addition to the many challenges they're facing, the kids are missing their books terribly. So we went through our books (we have way too many ... if that's possible!) and selected a few dozen we thought the kids would like.
From Dr. Suess to Fancy Nancy to superhero stories to some favorite Little Golden Books -- picture books, easy readers and more went into a pretty basket for our new friends. And of course, Yaya helped by adding some of her favorite children's books, too.
Ronda came to pick them up last weekend (she even brought apple pie in exchange!) and will deliver them to the group of siblings under her care. We are thinking of Eric today, as well as these kids. We hope they love reading our books, but most of all, we are praying for a stable, nurturing home for them.
We got the following note from Ronda a few days after we gave her the book basket:
I just delivered the books and had the best time watching those kids each grab a book and start reading! The seven-year-old read the “Magnificent” book to me. She learned a couple of new words, but knew almost all of it. She was so proud of herself! The older boy was reading a book about the human body. It is just a wonderful gift from you, Molly and Brock! They all were just entranced with having books to read at home. Thank you again so much!