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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks


Updated: Aug 15, 2023

October 7, 2021, Durham, NC – On Wednesday, October 6th, Book Harvest launched Book Babies Bright Futures, a new college-and-career savings program for Book Harvest Durham’s Book Babies participants. With Bright Futures, Book Harvest aspires to help unlock opportunities for families to build a financial foundation to realize their children’s dreams for college or career.

Book Harvest will contribute $100 per completed year ($500 total) into special savings accounts that each of the 360 current and alumni/ae members of its Book Babies program in Durham are invited to open. This gift, plus any additional amounts that families add to the account as well as interest earned, can be used for the child’s education or career needs when they turn 18.

“This investment in a child’s bright future starts accruing early - when a child is just a year old – and it has the potential to be transformative,” shared Book Harvest’s Founder and Executive Director, Ginger Young. “We are deeply grateful to the Angelina Merenda O’Bar Trust for the leadership grant to make the launch of Bright Futures possible!”

Book Babies Bright Futures was announced at the downtown Durham branch of Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), which will be administering the children’s savings accounts. Attending the announcement were representatives of Book Harvest and LCCU; Durham Mayor Steve Schewel; Durham City Council Member Javiera Caballero; NC Representative Zack Hawkins; NC Senator Natalie Murdock; and Melanie Mitchell, a trustee of the Angelina Merenda O’Bar Trust.

“Ann O’Bar's entire life was defined by her passionate advocacy for young children and her unwavering commitment to their success,” commented Mitchell. “The opportunity to support parents as they envision their children’s bright futures will carry on her legacy and lift up her memory for years to come.”

Carl Rist, whose pathbreaking work on children’s savings accounts spans three decades and who is working with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to strengthen and expand the growing children’s savings movement, attended the launch. “We know from research that children who have a $500 savings account are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate from college than those who don't,” shared Rist. “This investment matters – and what better place to make it than in Durham?”

At the launch of Bright Futures, l-r: Juan Canal, Senior VP of Finance, Latino Community Credit Union, and Treasurer, Book Harvest; Carl Rist, children’s savings movement advocate; NC Senator Natalie Murdock; NC Representative Zack Hawkins; Taquoia Street, Book Babies alum parent and Book Harvest Board Member; Ginger Young, Founder and Executive Director, Book Harvest; Sarah Wood, Board Chair, Book Harvest; Melanie Mitchell, Trustee, The Angelina Merenda O’Bar Trust; Maria Garcia, Book Babies parent and Book Babies Program Coordinator; Durham Mayor Steve Schewel; Durham City Council Member Javiera Caballero; and Luis Pastor, CEO/President, Latino Community Credit Union. Also shown: Book Babies participants Jade, Alessandro, and Chloe.

Book Harvest Launches Book Babies Bright Futures October 2021
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About Book Harvest:

Book Harvest provides an abundance of books and ongoing literacy support to families and their children from birth and serves as a model for communities committed to ensuring that children are lifelong readers and learners. Since its founding in 2011, Book Harvest has provided more than 1.6 million books to children in central North Carolina and beyond. Learn more at

About Book Babies:

Book Babies is Book Harvest’s birth-to-five literacy coaching home visiting program that partners with families of Medicaid-eligible children to develop their child’s early language and literacy skills. An evidence-informed literacy coaching partnership, Book Babies begins when a baby is born and is sustained over five years. Book Babies builds rich relationships and provides families with the information and resources they need to develop the foundation for their children’s school readiness and school success. Learn more at


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