Do you know that books in the home are the single strongest indicator of academic success and that two-thirds of children from low-income families are growing up in homes without books?

During the month of April, Savoy Bookshop & Café and Opening Doors for Westerly’s Children will be asking the local community to help grow home libraries for some Westerly children-in-need. A visit to the Savoy Bookshop with a donation toward a new book will enter you into a raffle drawing for prizes donated by downtown Westerly businesses.

Help us inspire and encourage young readers by giving them the gift of book ownership. The children have called the books they receive from Opening Doors their FOREVER BOOKS!

Opening Doors for Westerly’s Children is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has responded to this critical situation in Westerly since 2012. You can also make a donation here on our website.

Pam Stewart

Volunteering at ODWC's Book Parties is one of my greatest pleasures. I'm a retired teacher, so I know it takes a lot to inspire lifelong readers. Access to wonderful books is a key ingredient. This is where Opening Doors steps in. Through generous donors, they provide fresh new books, backpacks and school supplies to children in need.

I became a volunteer after meeting Julie White-Gooding and learning about Opening Doors' goals and achievements.Book photo 1 Supporting children's literacy in my community is a meant-to-be opportunity for me.

My Book Party experiences have been incredible! As children arrive and see our colorful book displays, books with titles like The Pigeon Needs a Bath and What If You Had An Animal Nose?, they are wide-eyed with excitement. I see them pick out a book and hug it lovingly in their arms, a new treasure to start or add to a personal library. From the delight of choosing books and the "oohs" and "aahs" over backpacks and abundant supplies, their joy is palpable.

Over 500 children started school this fall with materials from Book Parties in the Westerly Elementary Schools, the Head Start Program and the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative. Susan Martin, principal at Springbrook, said, "These supplies honor our students as learners and get them Book photo 2excited about school."

I'm privileged to work alongside an outstanding group of volunteers. It hasn't taken much time and effort, and I've reaped tremendous rewards. If you're passionate about children's literacy, come join us. We'd love your help to meet the needs of Westerly's children.



This article was written by Pam Stewart, ODWC's Volunteer Coordinator, for the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Opening Doors's newsletter. If you wish to find out more about volunteering please click here.



Sergio Cherenzia, President
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WESTERLY, RI (Nov. 21, 2017) – Opening Doors for Westerly’s Children (ODWC) is pleased to announce our new status as a fully independent 501(c)(3), effective June 1, 2017. We are deeply grateful to the United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) for allowing ODWC to operate under their non-profit status for our first five years. As a first step toward our new independence, and with the generosity of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, Opening Doors hired, on June 1st, a talented and experienced administrative/development assistant to manage correspondence, mail campaigns, donations, financial reporting, and donor acknowledgements. This part-time staff member is essential to our viability, fulfilling the role previously played by UWRI providing back room services.

sergio“We couldn’t be more excited about achieving this milestone and recognition of being an independent nonprofit organization,” says President Sergio Cherenzia. “ODWC has local roots and we are so eager to continue to serve a niche in our community which is desperately needed and to be able to realize our mission with local leaders, for local children in need.”

In the 2016-17 school year, ODWC provided books and backpacks to over 500 low-income children, and next year we will reach all 600. Sixty new classroom iPad tablets were provided to Springbrook Elementary School, in addition to the 20 already given the year before to Bradford Elementary School. In addition this summer, twenty children received scholarships to participate in the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative in Westerly.

The big news of this summer is, of course, the wonderfully generous support of our donors and friends at our annual fundraiser, Books on the Beach, which raised over $50,000 to continue supporting Westerly’s children in all these key programs. Watch for more details and, of course, pictures, in our fall newsletter, the KEY, coming out at the end of November.


About ODWC:
Opening Doors for Westerly’s Children promotes early childhood literacy and academic achievement for local children. We provide essential materials and opportunities and support academically related programs and initiatives. Visit, like our page on Facebook and/or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.