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Lurie Children's Hospital Celebrates National Reading Day With Book Donation from Direct Energy

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – One hundred and fifty books and $16,000 in cash will go toward Lurie Children’s Hospital School Services program, designed for young patients who have long hospital stays.

“We truly hope these donations lead to a healthy and bright future for the children who visit these hospitals,” said Becky Gall, Director of Marketing, Home Warranty of America, Direct Energy who donated the books and cash.

“We’re thrilled to donate. Direct Energy also partners with Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s across the country. Collectively we’ve donated $4.5M with a total of $116,00 here at Lurie’s.”

“Exposure to books and reading provides an imaginative escape to our students and our patients here which is very important,” said Katie Vautier, School Service Coordinator.

Scott Zagalak, a School Services Coordinator, said the book donation is invaluable for young patients.

“As students are here in the hospital, the books allow them to escape from their illness and learn about the world around them,” he said.

Zagalak said reading, teaching, and learning are part of the healing process.

“We help kiddos with their school work while they are here in the hospital, to make sure they’re not falling behind in their studies so when they do return to normal life, they haven’t missed a beat. Our role here as school teachers at the hospital is made possible through donations, Zagalak said.

Vautier said reading “allows their creative wheels start turning. It helps them think about what interests them, what they want to be when they grow up, and really what they’ll do in this world because they will grow up to do amazing things.”

Students are at Lurie Children’s Hospital from anywhere from a few days to 8-10 months, Zagalak said, “so they need school as well. These books provide these kids with a sense of normalcy.”