Northeast Tarrant

Education Express promotes reading at Grapevine Vintage Railroad fundraiser

Corey Jones of Allen, left, and Tammy Wilson of Keller enjoy wine on the Education Express.
Corey Jones of Allen, left, and Tammy Wilson of Keller enjoy wine on the Education Express.

Love of trains and helping kids was the inspiration for Community Storehouse’s first charity event aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.

Executive Director Barbara Board said the Education Express event and fundraiser for the Keller-based Summer Book Club program held on June 23 was a success with a 100-person capacity crowd.

“Due to the growing number of children we serve, we have expanded our Summer Book Club program to include a second session this year,” Board said. “Through our education programs, we are giving children the tools they need to stay focused on their education, and the success of this event will allow us to help twice as many children in Summer Book Club this year.”

The Community Storehouse, founded in 1982, is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides services to children living at or below the poverty level in Carroll, Keller and Northwest school districts.

Guests enjoyed catering by DeVivo Bros. Eatery in Keller and live jazz music on board two 1920s vintage coaches.

Summer Book Club

Summer Book Club provides an enjoyable and easy way for children to develop literacy skills during the months they are not in school.

This program works to prevent “summer slide” through daily games and activities reviewing grade appropriate sight words and word-attack skills and concepts (sequencing, alphabetizing, etc.) At least once a week, a game/activity is provided in a take-home format as well.

Children learn new vocabulary words and are exposed to new ideas and concepts. Through the discussion that takes place at book club meetings, children develop a deeper understanding of books, consider others’ perspectives on the same book and practice analyzing the books that they read.

Book discussions help children practice turn-taking, encourages them to use language to analyze, make predictions and solve problems and provide them with opportunities to try out new vocabulary words.

“Simply by reading and participating in discussions themselves, book club leaders provide important language and literacy models for the children.” Board said.

Megan Stiller, development director, said that “within the last few years our summer program has grown,” adding that they served more than 4,200 students in 2015.

Participants of Summer Book Club receive lunch during the day and for the weekend, a free book to take home each day to build their home library and a dignity pack of hygiene supplies (toothbrush, toothpaste, towel, wash cloth, soap, shampoo, floss, etc.).

Community Storehouse

Community Storehouse positively changes educational outcomes for children in crisis. Children born to generational poverty or experiencing the consequences of a household crisis such as income loss, the unexpected death of a parent, or the sudden terminal illness of a family member are much more likely to fail in school.

“Think of Community Storehouse as the first responders to any issues that threaten to interfere with a child’s success in school,” Board said.

Programs are strategically designed to address unmet, identified needs for the children within the community.

“Studies show that the education stage of a child’s life is crucial to their long-term success and can even break the cycle of generational poverty,” the executive director said. “Knowledge is power, and we’re working to help children have all the power they can through education.”

Grapevine Vintage Railroad

Built in 1896 at the Cooke Locomotive Works in Paterson, New Jersey, Engine 2248 was originally purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad and used in California for passenger and freight service.

Now known as Puffy, she was later converted into a fire train and then used as a ceremonial engine before ending up in a private collection where Walt Disney was eying her for a railroad project that never came to be.

She helped launch the Texas State Railroad Excursion in 1976 and eventually the Fort Worth & Western Railroad’s local Tarantula run. She made her first trek to Grapevine in 1993 and is now a permanent resident.

Helping Puffy shoulder the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s passenger load is Diesel 2199, a GP-7 (meaning general purpose) built in 1953 and originally operated by the Santa Fe Railroad and now referred to as Vinny.

For those who were unable to attend the Education Express supporting the Summer Book Club, donations can be made at

Marty Sabota: 817-390-7367