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Family donates books to Eastpointe Early Learning Center

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 20, 2019

 Stephen Warnick hands a book to Lyric Steppes, 3, at Eastpointe Community Schools’ Early Learning Center Dec. 18. Warnick and his family donated more than 50 books to the school in time for Christmas.

Stephen Warnick hands a book to Lyric Steppes, 3, at Eastpointe Community Schools’ Early Learning Center Dec. 18. Warnick and his family donated more than 50 books to the school in time for Christmas.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Astou Diouf, 5; Maverick Spencer, 4; Jermaine Winn, 3; and Steppes pick out their first books to read.

Astou Diouf, 5; Maverick Spencer, 4; Jermaine Winn, 3; and Steppes pick out their first books to read.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe Community Schools Early Learning Center received an early Christmas present this year with the donation of more than 50 books from a local family.

The books were donated by Stephen Warnick and his family. Warnick and most of his family are graduates of the district, and he has a special connection with Valerie Jens, the Early Learning Center’s supervisor.

“Steve and I have known each other since kindergarten, and he is married to my best friend,” said Jens. “We both graduated from East Detroit High School in 1999, and we were at a Thanksgiving gathering together, and he asked me if I knew of anyone that might be in need of anything at Christmastime, and we started talking about the (Early Learning) Center and that we could use some books.”

Warnick and his family began making donations like this last year in lieu of giving gifts to each other.

“This is the second year my family has made a donation like this,” he said. “Last year, we donated to an elementary school in Harper Woods, Beacon Elementary. Instead of the adults in the family buying each other gifts, we decided to pool our money and buy some kids books. We all put our money together and went to the bookstore together to pick out the books. I think we got a wide range of books for different sorts of kids, and kids at different reading levels.”

The Early Learning Center helps young students prepare for kindergarten. Jens said the books will be available to all students at the center.

“The books will be put in a central location where the whole school will have access to them,” she explained. “Students and teachers can take them and return them as they please. Donations like this are important, because we won’t always have everything we need here. Young kids especially don’t always know how to treat items as well as they should be, so our books get ripped a lot.”

Warnick said he and his family thought this donation was the best way they could make a positive impact on the community and help the most people.

“We all think education is important, and we all valued our own educations,” he said. “Knowing that kids might not have enough access to books really is something we should be able to help out with. … I’m hoping the kids can interact with the books, learn to read and enjoy reading. Hopefully, this could inspire other people to donate books or other useful items to young students.”

Jens expressed her gratitude and said the donation will do immeasurable good for her students.

“It was very nice to receive this shipment of books,” she said. “Our hope is our kids are exposed to more books and have access to more books so they are reading more, and this encourages them to enjoy reading. I want to thank Steve from the bottom of my heart. He has always been a great friend, and I can’t thank him enough for this donation.”

Warnick said he was glad to be able to do some good.

“Reading is really important for them, and it’s fun too,” he remarked. “I hope the kids see that and they continue to do that throughout the rest of their lives. I think the Early Learning Center will put them to great use. The kids seemed really excited when they saw them this morning.”

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