After all, the reading room paid for by the Sisters of
Charity Foundation of Cleveland in collaboration with the
Reading Project and filled with more than 700 new
books is a shot in the arm in an area where reading scores need
reading area is one of 88 in the country, but the first one in
Ohio. Carson, recently retired after a
career as Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon, and
his wife, Candy, have focused their philanthropic efforts on
improving reading and “encouraging young people to excel
academically,” he said in a pre-recorded video address played
before the opening of the reading room.
“With a book and your imagination, you can travel the world,” he
Sisters of Charity Foundation President Susanna Krey
echoed that idea, noting that the foundation had Carson speak at
its 15th anniversary in 2011, when the collaboration with the
Reading Project was first announced.
“I'm delighted there are so many great books here for you,” she
told the students. “As you travel through those books, new
worlds will open to you.”
But once the important speeches, necessary thank-you’s and
exuberant ribbon cutting ended and the brightly colored array of
books, magazines and beanbag chairs was open for business, the
young CMSD students got down to business and really put the
“reading” into the room.
“That's what this is all about,” said Principal Stephanie
Eafford, settling down on a beanbag chair where a half-dozen
students were already reading. “We're so honored to have this at
our school, where we know our students must increase their
scores and where most of our students have some difficulties
“We’re hoping that Dr. Carson, whose mother had him read two
books a week and do book reports on them, is the model for our
students, that they would love to come to this beautiful place
and increase in their reading abilities and become lifelong
After District Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon and
representatives from the Sisters of Charity Foundation cut the
ribbon, Gordon read aloud Maurice Sendak’s well-loved
“Where the Wild Things Are” to a group of kids sprawled out in
front of him and to parents, community partners and school
officials standing in the back.
“This was my favorite book as a kid, and I hope you like
it,” said Gordon who added his own facial expressions and shouts
when called for during the classic children's story.
Gordon thanked the students “for making Carver a better and
better school every day” and noted that one student in the
auditorium had not stopped reading a book even during a
half-dozen speeches before the ribbon cutting.
He also complimented teachers at Carver, noting that the
hallways were lined with student artwork, essays and other
materials related to Dr. Carson.
Gordon also thanked Sisters of Charity Foundation and other
reading room, originally announced in 2011 to be located in a
Central neighborhood school, is part of an overall commitment
to the area by the foundation. That commitment bolstered last
month when the Ohio Department of Education awarded the
over the next two years.
Sisters of Charity Foundation’s Cleveland Central Neighborhood
Promise Initiative is “a transformative program that wraps
children in high-quality, coordinated health, social, community
and educational support from the cradle to college and career,”
according to the foundation's website.
Promise Neighborhood is part of Cleveland’s Ward 5, from
Euclid Avenue to Woodland Avenue and from East 22nd Street to
East 55th Street. It includes more than 10,000 people, including
about 2,500 children under the age of 5. The stated vision of
the initiative: All Central students go to college.
reminded everyone that transforming a school and a community is
an active, not a static, thing.
“Partners, if this is your first time here, it cannot be your
last,” he said. “We have to do this together. We will not
achieve the goals we want, and that our children deserve, if we
do not do this together.”