Sapulpa to unveil mobile book bus

Mobile book bus unveiled with ribbon cutting ceremony
Posted on 05/09/2019
Mobile Book Bus(SPS) - After more than two years of planning and getting it ready, the mobile book bus has finally been unveiled to the public.

With school children cheering from the parking lot of Holmes Park Elementary and the High School Band playing, a large group gathered to hear how the bus came to be and of course, to take a look inside.

The mobile book bus is a converted Sapulpa Public Schools bus that has been gutted and replaced with shelves containing books, a refrigerator to hold cold water, and cabinets to stock snacks all in an effort to keep children reading throughout the summer months.

"I couldn’t be more proud of the work that has gone into this project," said Sapulpa Public Schools Superintendent Rob Armstrong. "With the mobile book bus, we’ll be able to take books to our students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to reading materials. This can help those students avoid the summer reading gap and be more prepared once the new school year begins."

The project is a partnership between the school district and Caring Community Friends, Creek County’s largest community food bank and emergency assistance agency.

Mobile book bus interior

"I love the idea of 'Collective Impact,' where different parts of the community work together to solve a specific social problem. In this case, the public school system is working with the local food bank - breaking down socioeconomic barriers, bridging the summer reading gap and the summer feeding gap. We truly are ‘Better Together.’ I cannot imagine a more rewarding endeavor," said Dr. Camille Teale, Executive Director of Caring Community Friends.

The idea for the bus was sprung two years ago when staff was challenged to dream of the impossible, something that would benefit the district’s students. Julie Enlow, Sapulpa Public Schools Elementary Instructional Coach, came forward with an idea that students need to read all year long, not just when they’re in school. After some research, her vision of a mobile book bus was born and then expanded to include food.

“Yes, it was a dream two years ago but it couldn’t have happened on my own,” said Enlow. “All of the books that are in the bus have been donated through the community and through partnerships with American Heritage Bank, our curriculum provider HMH, and numerous people in the community who donated books.”

“It is a true community partnership that makes this bus special.”

The bus will travel through the Sapulpa area multiple times a week offering up a quick and easy way for children to check out books and grab a snack. And for some children, they’ll take home more than just a snack.

“Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma has approved this as a summer feeding site so, in addition to snacks, children will take home a box of food, shelf-stable food, when they visit the bus,” said Dr. Teale.

One in six families in Oklahoma struggle with food security. That issue and the struggle with reading among some elementary school age students made the idea of the mobile book bus a unanimously approved project for a Social Innovation Grant from the Tulsa Area United Way.

“We’re excited because of the leadership of Superintendent Armstrong, Camille, and everyone here today, we can chip away at those issues here in this community,” said Brett Sadler, Tulsa Area United Way Vice President of Community Investments.

Following the ribbon cutting, Holmes Park students were allowed to tour the bus before the engine roared to life and it drove away to be introduced to Liberty, Freedom, and Jefferson Heights elementary schools students.

The summer route and schedule is still being finalized. We will alert the public once that has been determined.

Thank you to the following people and organizations that have made this dream a reality:

Caring Community Friends
Sapulpa Public Schools staff and volutneers
Tulsa Area United Way
Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
Kryptonite Kustomz
Ray Bustos and Joe Rose
Shawna Green
Lou Martin
OSU Prevention Program
American Heritage Bank
Creek County Community Partnership
Oklahoma Home and Community Education
Creek County Ambulance
Bill and Sue Johnston
First United Bank
Creek County DHS
Wayside Elementary in Bartlesville
Bristow Literacy Program
Youth Services of Creek County
Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce

If you would like to donate books, you may contact any of the schools in the district, administration at the Washington Administrative Center, or Caring Community Friends.

Mobile book bus interior

Mobile book bus exterior
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