Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette Katie Dorsey started Hope Books and has given away more than 11,000 books over the past 11/2 years.

Monday, January 09, 2017 3:19 pm

Student's food bank bookshelf blossoms

Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

When she first took on the task of maintaining the bookshelf at Community Harvest Food Bank, Katie Dorsey didn’t know if she would be able to keep it filled.

She needn’t have worried.

The 17-year-old has given away more than 11,000 books since she began Hope Books in March 2015 to get books to children who might not have access to them at home. Her efforts have expanded to include such organizations as the Early Childhood Alliance and the Urban League of Fort Wayne.

"It wasn’t really me that was doing it," the Carroll High School senior said. "God showed up in so many ways to provide what I needed for that time."

The organization’s namesake is Jeremiah 29:11, a Bible verse about giving people hope and a future, Dorsey said. She noted the verse is on cards she distributes when seeking donations.

Her inspiration to begin such a project stemmed from seeing children with their parents at Community Harvest, a place she and her mother regularly visit because they deliver groceries to homebound seniors, Dorsey said.

No activities were available for the children, who would look bored, Dorsey said, so she decided to fill that void.

The idea to start a bookshelf came from and appealed to Dorsey because books have always been part of her home life, she said, noting her mother was a teacher.

When she approached Community Harvest about the idea, she learned somebody had donated a bookshelf, but nobody was available to maintain it, she said.

To stock the shelf, Dorsey weeded through her mother’s collection of children’s books and conducted book drives at Carroll as well as her church, Pathway Community Church. Half Price Books has contributed to the cause, as has the Garrett Public Library, which gave her about six boxes after its renovation, she said. She has sought donations at garage sales as well.

Within Hope Books’ first year, Dorsey applied for and won a $500 Disney Summer of Creativity grant, which she used to buy books, she said.

"I’ve had to pay for very, very few of them," Dorsey said of the items Hope Books has given away.

Dorsey, who plans to attend Huntington University after high school, aimed to distribute 10,000 books by the end of 2016 – a goal she exceeded. Long term, she said, she hopes to expand the program beyond Fort Wayne.

Go to or follow Hope Books on Facebook for more information.

Manchester University

• Manchester University will host the annual Science Olympiad Invitational on Saturday. About 350 students from 18 high schools and eight middle schools statewide are expected to compete. The invitational will feature 33 events and competitions, including forensic cases, chemistry labs and building robot arms and hovercraft. It is a steppingstone for regional competitions, where the top 60 teams will be selected to compete in the 2017 Science Olympiad National Tournament. Go to for more information.

Ivy Tech

• Ivy Tech Community College last month honored 160 students, including 14 from Ivy Tech Northeast, for completing the Ivy Tech Student Leadership Academy. The program provides students with an opportunity to further develop their leadership and professional development skills while learning about the college’s history and traditions. Participants from the northeast region were Candy Lucero, Dontae Hampton, Travis Armstrong, Karen Caprioni, Elasha Carswell, Dustin Catalan, Teresa Haag, Phyllis Lomanto, Gabrielle Marcano, Innocent Odoh, Rachel Thompson, Jennifer Walker, Genie Walters and Steven Widenhoeft. More than 600 students statewide applied for the 10-week co-curricular program.


• Descendants of Fort Wayne Central High School (1922-71) graduates are eligible for the following FWCHS Alumni Association scholarships: $500 minimum educational scholarships for students in first or second year of college within the U.S. or one $1,000 scholarship to a current college junior education major within the U.S. Home-schooled college-bound students will also be considered but need SAT or ACT scores. For more information, contact Bonnie at, Mary Lou at or the Anthis Career Center at 467-1005.

• Huntington University has announced that Kline’s CPA Group P.C. of Huntington has agreed to fund a $2,500 agribusiness scholarship. The first award will be granted for the 2017-18 school year. The annual scholarship will be awarded a student enrolled in the Haupert Institute of Agricultural Studies. The recipient must meet the following criteria: be a legal resident of Indiana, enroll as an agribusiness major and maintain at least a 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Go to for more information.

• The Questa Education Foundation announced its Questa Scholars Program is offering an early application period for Questa partner school applicants through Feb. 22. Applications submitted by the deadline will be considered for the early round of funding for the 2017-18 year. Applications received later will be rolled into the traditional application period of March 1 to May 1. Go to for more information.

• The South Side Optimist Club of Fort Wayne seeks applications for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest. The deadline is Jan. 15. The contest is open to students younger than 18 as of Oct. 1, 2016. The topic is what the world gains from optimism. The winning ­speeches will be sent to the zone or district level for the opportunity to win college scholarships. Winners of the district level may compete in the regional competition, and winners of that contest may compete in the world championship. Students could possibly win up to $22,500 in scholarships. Contact Jane Gerardot at 432-5426 for information.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.