On May 2, Jack and Joanna Houston, with the help of Freemason Wally Watkins, delivered 44 fully-assembled bikes to Sno-Isle Libraries.
The bikes are used as an incentive for school-age children to participate in the Summer Reading program. For every 10 books or 1000 pages a child reads, they earn one chance to win a bike through a random drawing.
Since 2007, the Sultan-Monroe Masonic Lodge #160 has been donating two bikes (one for boys and one for girls) each year to the Sultan Library and two bikes to the Monroe Library as an incentive prize to encourage reading.
Over the years, Jack’s enthusiasm for this program grew. For 2013, Jack was determined to realize his vision of providing bikes to all 21 of Sno-Isle’s community libraries, plus the bookmobile.
Jack rallied together his Sultan-Monroe brothers to gather support from several other lodges and secure funds from nineteen individual donors. The Freemasons of Washington were joined in their efforts by the Monroe Fred Meyer store that reduced the price of the bikes and rented a large storage container to hold and assemble the bikes.
The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation will supplement the prize by providing a safety helmet for each child who wins a bike. “The Foundation takes pride in enriching the minds of children and we want to keep those minds safe,” said Angelique Leone, foundation executive director.
Jack thinks back, “I remember the first time I saw one of the kids win. He was a young boy who just stood back and said, ‘I can’t believe I actually won this bike!’ I’ll never forget this moment that was thrilling for him. It’s so worthwhile to see these kids enjoy what they’re winning and what they’ve accomplished.”
Kids and their parents can visit any Sno-Isle library to get started or visit www.sno-isle.org/summerreading to print out a reading log and entry form.