Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Books & Breakfast celebrates 10-year anniversary with pancake dinner, games

Anavi Prakash/The Daily Northwestern
Attendees play a game of Uno at Books & Breakfast’s 10 year anniversary celebration.

As Hector Hernandez entered the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center Saturday evening, he encountered a pancake dinner, games, face painting and an airbrush tattoo station.

Hernandez and his family were among almost 200 people who attended Books & Breakfast’s 10 Year Celebration. The program, housed in eight Evanston/Skokie School District 65 schools, pairs volunteer tutors with students to provide academic and personal support before the start of the school day.

Hernandez said B&B gives his children an opportunity to have a positive experience before the school day starts, something he didn’t have growing up. 

“The goal of Books & Breakfast is that every kid in Evanston has what they need to really thrive and to be deeply included and seen,” B&B Executive Director Kim Hammock said. “This is a picture of what we want — Evanston to be where our kids are the center, and we’re cheering for them.” 

B&B’s model values communication between each school’s students, teachers and families, which Lincolnwood Elementary School teacher Traci Mull, who helped implement B&B ten years ago, said helps support students’ academic and “whole child” growth. 

“We get these little reports,” Mull said. “We tell (the tutors) ‘Hey, can you help such and such with comprehension?’ ‘Hey, can you help this kid with their multiplication and division facts?’ The journey of their growth is amazing.”

According to Jeff Hammock, Kim Hammock’s husband, the event centered around a pancake dinner — a longstanding B&B tradition.

He said it started when he created his own pancake mix as an alternative to box-mix pancakes for his children. In B&B’s first year, his mix became the staple of quarterly celebrations. 

Jeff Hammock made the pancakes for attendees at Saturday’s event. 

“It’s fun to get to stand behind the scenes and feed people for all the hard work they’ve done throughout the year,” Jeff Hammock said.

Kim Hammock said she is “grateful” for the community members who help students feel a “deep sense of connection and inclusion” and hopes the work will continue to reach more students. 

B&B volunteer tutors include Evanston Township High School students, Northwestern students and other community members.

Sarah Polley, an ETHS senior, said she has volunteered with B&B since she was a kid, following in her mother’s footsteps. Now, she said she volunteers on days she doesn’t have school because she loves the community.

“I’m just so proud of how it’s grown and what it’s become,” Polley said. “I want to see it spread to more schools, to grow across the country.”

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