Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Local company’s book donation helps kids read the summer away

VIRGINIA BEACH — Books teach and they entertain: They take the reader to new worlds and into never-ending adventures.

For the kids at the Rosemont Road Unit of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Virginia, the summer just got much more adventurous and exciting with the donation of 50 book collections by The Dragas Companies.

The donation was part of the Virginia Beach company’s celebration of 50 years in business. The company got its start in 1968 when George Dragas founded Dragas Mortgage. His brother Mark joined the company a few years later.

As long-time supporters of the club, The Dragas Companies hoped the donation would foster and encourage reading in the 260 kids who attend the unit’s summer program.

“We reached out to our employees and asked everyone what books were important to them when they were children, or that they enjoyed reading with their own kids,” said Sally Horvath, vice president of sales and marketing for the Dragas Management Corp. “The response we received was overwhelming and it was clear that our staff was passionate about their favorite book series, so we built our list around these recommendations.”

They also included tags on each set of books to let the kids know who recommended that particular book series and why.

Everyone at the Rosemont Road Unit was thrilled by the donation.

“Their donation made our summer program better,” said Debbie McGaughey, director of the Rosemont Road Unit.

She said that while the kids were excited about the new books – especially when Dragas staff delivered them all packaged and wrapped – the parents were just as happy.

“The parents were more appreciative than the kids,” McGaughey said. “They’re glad their kids will be doing summer reading and not losing what they learned during the school year.”

Employees of The Dragas Companies along with staff and children of the Rosemont Road Unit of the Boys and Girls Club gather for the company's book donation (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of The Dragas Companies)
Employees of The Dragas Companies along with staff and children of the Rosemont Road Unit of the Boys and Girls Club gather for the company’s book donation. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of The Dragas Companies)

The collections donated include books that are relevant and popular today, such as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, and more.

Many of the kids, McGaughey said, now would rather sit and read than take part in other activities.

“When a child wants to read we let them read.”

The donation, she said, brought smiles to the faces of the kids, and tears to her eyes.

Dragas staff also found a lot of enjoyment though the process.

“It became a project we had a lot of fun putting together and it was amazing to see the kid’s reactions when we delivered the books,” Horvath said. “We had everything from the entire Harry Potter series to Dr. Seuss, and tried to give a wide variety to each age group and interest so no one was left out.”

McGaughey said as a nonprofit, the Boys and Girls Clubs accept donations “with open arms.”

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