Barrington students host book fair to benefit peers in Chicago
Teens for Teens members Aidan Fox (left to right), Lauren Duguid and Maesyn Poidomani wrap an item for a customer Sunday during an event at Barnes & Noble in Deer Park to raise money for other teens in Chicago. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:42AM
BARRINGTON — Students from Prairie and Station Middle schools donned bright orange T-shirts on Sunday at the Barnes and Noble in Deer Park Town Center, alerting holiday shoppers of their Teens for Teens book fair.
The book fair, an annual event organized by the Barrington charity Teens for Teens, works to benefit five classrooms at Sunny Hill Elementary, as well as libraries at Graeme Stewart and John T. McCutcheon Elementary schools in Chicago.
“We had our best book fair,” reported Teens for Teens director Sue Hyde, whose son started the charity as a middle school student in 2003. “We sold over $6,500 worth of books.”
Station and Prairie eighth-grade students support Teens for Teens with at least one volunteer activity every month. In September, Hyde explained, Teens for Teens organized a project to benefit children in an after-school program in Chicago. The Barrington middle school students raised money for the program’s food pantry.
“We stocked their food pantry and cooked a meal for them,” Hyde said. “That way, they could rest well and be ready to learn the next day.”
In the past, Teens for Teens has benefitted Sunny Hill by working with Barrington Children’s Charities to construct a reading garden for the students as an outside classroom. Stewart and McCutcheon schools were chosen, organizers explained, because they have a lack of resources.
“They’re both desperately in need of materials,” Hyde said. “The librarians provide us with a list of books and our kids go to the schools and present the books.”
Sarah Cuthbertson, a parent-volunteer who helps run Teens for Teens at Station, said the Barrington students in the program also get a lot out of the various activities.
“And they enjoy the social aspect of it,” she said.
As the book fair was starting, Station student Maesyn Poidomani wrapped gifts for customers in exchange for donations to the charity.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Poidomani said.
She also highlighted an event on Halloween earlier this year when the organization invited other middle school students from Chicago to Barrington for the day to got to know each other.
“We made crafts and played bingo,” Poidomani said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Cuthbertson talked about another recent Teens for Teens project that benefitted Project Linus, a charity that provides blankets to critically ill children in hospitals across the nation. Cuthbertson said the students collected an impressive number of blankets.
“Then they got to see a video of the blankets being delivered,” she said. “So they knew exactly where the blankets were going.”
Hyde said that Teens for Teens, which boasts about 200 students between the two middle schools, has a goal of helping not just Barrington teens develop an idea of civic responsibility, but helping teens everywhere build a sense of strength and capability.
“We just want kids to feel empowered,” she said.