While working as the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning in Baltimore City Public Schools, our founder Jarrod Bolte was perplexed by the large numbers of children entering school each year without the basic skills and knowledge to be successful. One night, while reading with his own son at bedtime, Jarrod had the idea for Bedtime in a Box. Not only could we provide books and bedtime supplies to children and familes, but we could establish a routine that ensures they are used every night. For three years, Jarrod kept a box of bedtime materials and books next to his desk, sharing it with colleagues and getting feedback from parents and caregivers. Efforts to raise funds for distribution failed early and often, but in 2015 the first boxes were provided to 20 families in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. Word quickly spread about the box and the impacts it had on familes.
In our first year, we provided over 600 low-income families with Boxes across Baltimore. Since then, demand for our program has only grown and we will deliver our 4,500th Box by the end of the 2018-19 School Year. 4,500 Boxes is $675,000 of resources including 22,500 books and 49,500 additional bedtime materials.