Photo by Diane Cox
Paige Farnsworth, organizer of Authors for Fosters, sits on more than 1,000 books she's donating to Caritas Family Solutions. From left are Paige Farnsworth, the Rev. Bill Pyatt, Caritas Family Solutions Regional Director Lea Compton and Ashlee Ritchie of Caritas.
Paige Farnsworth, a junior at Greenville College, combines two passions in her life to give back to the community organization that has touched her heart.
Farnsworth, a 2011 graduate of Collinsville High School, is in her junior year at Greenville College in Greenville, majoring in English education. Farnsworth hopes to teach high school English and wants to share her love of reading with future students.
"I love to read," Farnsworth said. "My parents and grandmas would read to me when I was younger; that's how I spend my free time ... in a book."
Through the love and example of her parents, Farnsworth found a way to share her love of books with others before becoming a teacher. The Farnsworth family is a foster home. Paige is the second of four biological siblings but will soon become the second oldest of six siblings. Her parents are adopting a girl, 6, and a boy, 3, who are biological siblings.
"Our four biological children are almost grown," said Mr. Farnsworth. "We had decided to become foster parents several years ago."
Paige loves to read fantasy novels and series such as "Harry Potter,” “A Song of Fire and Ice” and "The Lord of the Rings."
Paige decided to start a nonprofit group called Authors for Fosters and collect books to donate to the same organization that her soon-to-be adopted siblings were placed through.
On Thursday, April 17, Paige brought in more than 1,000 books to donate to Caritas Family Solutions for foster children in the program. The books were neatly organized by age and grade levels.
"I organized book drives through my church, the First Baptist Church in Collinsville, as well as book drives at Greenville College," Farnsworth said. "The Collinsville Memorial Public Library also collected books for Authors for Fosters."
Paige has set up a Facebook page to get the word out through social media.
"Anyone can donate books or even cash to purchase new books and journals," Farnsworth said. "Along with the books, we have notebooks and journals to encourage kids to not only read, but to write too."
"When I was in grade school, I loved to write for the Young Authors contests and I still really enjoy writing," Farnsworth said. "I even like to write poetry and hope the kids will give it a try."
Caritas Family Solutions, formerly known as Christian Social Services, has a regional branch at 645 Brookshire in East Alton. Lea Compton is the regional director and has also adopted two siblings through the program.
The Rev. Bill Pyatt is the pastor at the First United Methodist Church in East Alton and is on the board for Caritas.
"You can tell she's very thoughtful and so well-organized," Pyatt said as Paige and her family brought in box after box of books.
To take part or organize a book drive to help Authors for Fosters or make a donation, contact Paige Farnsworth through her Authors for Fosters Facebook page.
For information about Caritas Family Solutions, becoming a foster parent or adoption, contact Licensing Coordinator Mary Savage at 618-258-8778.