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Rock the Books 2018

Thank you to our 2019 Rock the Books Sponsors!!

Bounce House Sponsor

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It was March of 2016 when two moms; Ailetha Turner, Executive Director of Heart of Benevolence and Carleeka Basnight, Executive Direct of Inside-Out Inc., were out on a morning walk and came up with the idea of having a back to school event. These ladies wanted to have an event where families were able to get much needed school supplies, reading could be promoted and children could have a great time. The event was named after LL Cool J's historic song, Rock the Bells, which derived from the action of ringing the bell to begin a boxing match. Instead of rocking bells, the children will theoretically Rock the Books to commence the start of their school year.

The Rock the Books, back to school festival was held on August 4, 2018 at the Howard Gilman waterfront park. Rock the Books is an annual fun filled event where children celebrate education and the upcoming school year, learn the importance of reading literacy and are provided free backpacks with school supplies. Rock the Books has provided over 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to students thus far. Including, backpacks and school supplies that were provided to children at Camden House, Saint Marys Methodist Boys Home, Safe Harbor’s Children's Center and Family Preservation Center.

Donations for Rock the Books have been provided by citizens in the community, United Way, Modern Woodmen, Fernandina Beach VFW, GA Power, Fey McDonald’s, Winn-Dixie of Saint Marys, Express Scripts, ROSS, Walmart, Agape Church and Harbor Worship Center. There were volunteers from GA Power, Express Scripts, United Way, Camden High school’s BETA club, and various citizens in the community. Vendors have included Taste O’ Philly, Zoe’s Shaved Ice, Mookie’s Cookies, Chi-ago’s, Wurstbuster’s, Paparazzi, FTMS Customs, US Bourne Books, Bathfitters, All American Gutter, LulaRoe, Scentsy, Hairy Farmpit Girls, Scentsy, Brandy Champeau, and NSPIRE, Girl Scouts Of Historic GA, Reaching Milestones, and Sapp & Bruce Educational Consulting. There were also prizes and giveaways provided by Modern Woodmen, Weichert Realtors, and the Camden County Sheriff’s C.H.A.M.P.S. program.

The children at Rock the Books are always full of smiles and joy. Not only do they get much needed school supplies, the Kid’s Zone provides free face painting, rock painting, sidewalk chalk art, temporary tattoos, temporary hair spray, and free balloon twisting. Bounce houses and interactive games such as human hamster balls are also a great feature at the event. The Kids' Zone has featured a Healthy Selfie Photo Station provided by Camden Family Connections and cross-fit based games for children provided by DYP Fitness, such as tug of war, relay races and more. Upon registering at the event, children are greeted with a complimentary bag of candy provided by the event organizers and free ice cream coupons provided by Fey McDonald’s. The Chic-fil-a cow was also on site at the event. Every child who received free backpacks and school supplies have also been gifted free books donated by United Way. There was music and a dance contest hosted by one of the top DJ’s out of Savannah, DJ A-Rod.

Feedback from patrons has prompted the Rock the Books committee to implement an information booth and improve the registration process for Rock the Books 2019, which will be held on August 3, 2019 12pm-4pm. Heart of Benevolence and Inside-Out feel that Rock the Books has become the premier back to school event in Coastal Georgia and look forward to more organizations and companies taking part in the event.

Our goal is to not have to turn any child away, promote reading literacy and create a fun safe environment for the children. These goals have consistently been met, children are provided with the tools needed to start a great school year along with great a day of fun. The Rock the Books committee hopes that each and every child feels like a super star for the day, understands the importance of reading literacy and sees how much our community values them having a great school year and Rocking the Books.


For more information, go to HeartofB.org

Donations for Rock the Books 2019 can be sent to:

Heart of Benevolence Inc.

178 Natures Drive

Saint Marys, GA 31558

Questions regarding the event can be sent to [email protected]

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Rock the Books Location:

Howard Gilman Memorial Park,

100 Saint Marys Road,

Downtown Saint Marys, GA

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