Book challenge helps local school encourage reading


Bailey Contemporary Arts’ Lyrics Lab Book Challenge and Pompano Beach CRA Engineer Horacio Danovich recently raised money and collected donated books to stock 28 classroom libraries at Pompano Beach Elementary School. Pictured are Steve Larson, principal of the school, left; Sarah Benichou, Bailey’s arts director; and City Commissioner Ed Phillips.

The sight of bare library shelves at Pompano Beach Elementary School was the spark necessary to motivate the local community into action. And people like Sarah Benichou and Horacio Danovich know no bounds.  

Benichou used her platform as the director of Bailey Contemporary Arts and enlisted the assistance of local poetry slam artists and initiated the Lyrics Lab Book Challenge.  

“When [Pompano Elementary] Principal Steve Larson told me about the book drive initiative, I thought our Lyrics Lab program would be a great supporter of this cause,” Benichou said. “One of our house poets Michael Mc-Cain picked up the gauntlet and collected over three boxes of books so we piggybacked off his efforts.”  

McCain attended a Cultural Arts Meeting with the City Commission when the subject of the plight of elementary schools in Pompano came up.  

“I was disappointed to hear that and felt there was something missing from the school system and I wanted to take action, but didn’t have any direction,” Mc-Cain said. “It might have been just a drop in the bucket, but I just started collecting some books from some friends and got more than I expected with boxes of books.”  

“We had a really good turnout and helping out children was exciting for everyone. My personal mission is to collect books every quarter and donate books to other elementary schools in Pompano,” McCain said.  

Horacio Danovich, a Pompano Beach CRA Engineer, utilized his connections to the community to raise in excess of $10,000 to stock 28 classrooms with books as well as collecting donated books.  

“I met [Steve] Larson at an Economic Development Council meeting and he explained what was needed,” Danovich said. “He deserves all the help we can collectively give him and the school scores have already been raised.We initiated a fundraising campaign, reached out to my peers and the response was overwhelming within a couple of weeks. This was a great experience and was for such a worthy cause. I felt compelled to help in any way I could. All the kids coming into the school will benefit from this.”