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A friend in Oak Park had heard that the CPS school where my daughter works has a program that provides every student in the school with a book to take home and read over the summer. But they have to find the books.
My friend wants us to know there may be books available in River Forest, where First Presbyterian Church has just collected dozens of boxes of children's books donated in the name of Anne Smedinghoff, who grew up there. She gives me a number, I make some calls, and I learn that a campaign that began with the Smedinghoff's neighbors, who were determined to cover their block with white ribbons by the time the family returned from Afghanistan, quickly was expanded by Saint Luke Catholic Church, the family's church, into a campaign to cover the entire town. And just as quickly it spread to First Presbyterian, which on its parking lot Monday evening gave away ribbons and miniature flags in exchange for children's books. Anne had been delivering textbooks to schoolchildren when she died.
I'm told River Forest is a sight to see. There are white ribbons everywhere.
One woman I talk to whose son went to Fenwick High with Anne Smedinghoff says she was "so beyond extraordinary." She urges me to read the story about Anne on the front page of the Tribune. It's "really nice."
It is. A high school student full of promise belongs to her hometown in a way in which the adult making her way in the world cannot. Until she comes home.