Cody Partnership Profile: Cody Book Club

Cody Book Club

Oak Pointe’s reading/mentoring program at Cody High School is commonly known as The Book Club. Each Thursday throughout the school year, students from 9-11 grade gather during two adjacent lunch hours to read a selected book along with members of the Cody Partnership team. The book is chosen to provide positive life lessons for kids growing up in a difficult environment. Volunteers sit with small groups of students, and each student and mentor reads a section of the book out loud. The content is then discussed with the larger group.

Bob & Sharon Garnham lead this ministry, providing lunch to as many as 30 students, leading the discussions and guiding/encouraging the volunteers. There are typically 6-7 volunteers from Oak Pointe that make the drive from home just to invest a few hours with these kids who are hungry to improve their futures.

Toward the end of this year’s Book Club, we asked for anonymous feedback. What we received was very encouraging. Many hope we keep doing this and intend to return next year. Reading and interacting with others about powerful subjects was new to them and very stimulating. A number stated that the reading brought students together in a positive way. Several stated they wish the session was longer.

To align with public school policies, we do not actively preach the gospel. On the last day, one student attendee and contributor made an interesting observation. He was unaware that the volunteers were all from a church called Oak Pointe. He said that we were “pretty chill” for a bunch of Christians. His prior experience was with Christians that were racist, homophobic, had their own agenda and were always yelling at you. He didn’t feel that way about the Oak Pointe team in The Book Club. He closed by stating with a smile that Jesus was not white with blue eyes.