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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development

Mission: Wood-to-Wonderful was founded by Louise and Doug Brown in 1987 in the Washington, DC, suburbs and relocated to Reading, PA, in 1997. Wood-to-Wonderful’s original grass roots mission was to make wooden toys for less fortunate children. To this end, over 150,000 wooden toys have been made and distributed to needy children over the years. Since moving to Reading, however, Wood-to-Wonderful’s mission has evolved into helping to improve the quality of life for deserving children and now, in addition to wooden toymaking, includes diverse community outreach programs such as “Reading is Toyrific,” working with adults with disabilities, Re-Bike-Cycle, CAN IT litter abatement program, and neighborhood support. Wood-to-Wonderful is truly a grass roots organization

Results: 90,000 books and related toys given to "Reading is Toyrific" participants, 10,000 toys per year made by volunteers including adults with disabilities, 2,500 bicycles repaired and donated to needy residents of Reading, PA, 800 litter receptacles made and placed throughout the City of Reading

Target demographics: children-in-need, adults with disabilities, bicycles and litter cans for needy city residents

Direct beneficiaries per year: 3,000 children and adults

Geographic areas served: the Berks County, PA, area

Programs: "Reading is Toyrific," wooden toy making, yoyo and game board making by adults with disabilities, Re-Bike-Cycle, CAN IT litter abatement

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Frank73

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to volunteer with the Wood to Wonderful organization. The founders, Louise and Doug Brown, have a deep rooted love for the improvement of the lives of deserving children in our community. This sense of purpose has been a strong motivating factor for myself and many other volunteers to give our time to assist with its many programs. On a shoestring budget, Wood to Wonderful provides literacy programs, beautification initiatives and wood making skills to name a few. I believe this organization is very worthy of support for volunteering time and financial resources.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Wood to Wonderful, Inc. for several years. During my time with the organization, I have had the opportunity to experience the various services and programs they provide to the community. Recently, I attended the organization's annual holiday party for adults with disabilities and I had a really great time interacting with the attendees. Their smiles were contagious and I really enjoyed my time with them. I have also been able to participate in the wooden toy making program. This was really fun for me because I am not a very handy person, but the organization makes the process very easy and enjoyable. The wooden toys are used in conjunction with the organization's Reading is Toyrific program where books and related wooden toys are provided to at-risk youngsters in local school districts. My husband has served as a volunteer in the Reading is Toyrific program as a guest reader at various elementary schools in the Reading School District. Overall, my experiences with Wood to Wonderful have been enjoyable and very rewarding. I believe the organization's programs really address the issues faced by the surrounding community and make a positive impact.

Sondra B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The following story is from my husband, Carl: I am a retired industrial arts teacher, a Wood-to-Wonderful volunteer, and a Wood-to-Wonderful Board member. I visit Wood-to-Wonderful three times a week to help with toy production and interact with an amazing group of adults with disabilities who drill and package triangular golf tee game boards and also paint, assemble, and package wooden yoyos--all distributed to needy children--at Wood-to-Wonderful. Since I have MS, Director Doug Brown configures the sanding and drilling equipment so that I am able to work at these machines where I am pleased to help make thousands of wooden toys for deserving children each year. I am most grateful to my friend who suggested I visit Wood-to-Wonderful to see if I might help make toys. Wood-to-Wonderful has made a positive difference in my life.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the great pleasure of being a Reading is Toyrific volunteer for many years. I am also currently serving on the Board of Directors for this amazing organization. Doug and Louise are dedicated and committed to providing quality programs to deserving children. I am proud to be associated with such an organization, which is truly changing the community, one book, one toy and one student at a time.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was very fortunate to know of Wood to Wonderful last year, and I led a group of volunteers to help at Wood to Wonderful for a day, where we learned various things, took on a variety of tasks, and interacted with many interesting people. On a separate occasion, I also participated in the Toyrific event in a kindergarten, where I read books with two other readers to 30+ kids in a classroom, I loved seeing their smiling faces, and answering the curious questions they raised about the story in the book. Their passion, optimism, and curiosity made my day!

Wood to Wonderful is a great organization run by Louise and Doug, I am so happy to be a member of such a wonderful organization that strives to improve the quality of life for the deserving children.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were very fortunate to learn of the work of Wood to Wonderful. They provided our church with books and wooden toys to distribute to the needy children who attend our free community dinners and food pantry dates. The children were very grateful for these beautiful brand new books. Parents thanked us for months after the distribution.Both Doug and Louise have a passion for helping those less fortunate. We need more people like this in our community and world.
Denise Hart, Reading Moravian Church

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the good fortune of working with Doug and Louise Brown and Wood-to-Wonderful for more than a dozen years as a volunteer and as a financial supporter. Their operation is fundamentally one of caring for our community and I have always been impressed at their untiring devotion to filling unmet needs with limited resources. I happened upon their organization when they were building stock cars with inner-city kids and I stayed as an active volunteer and supporter of their reading program for children in the City of Reading schools. I strongly support their mission and the excellent work they do; they are unsung heroes in our community.

Donor

Rating: 5

Doug and Louise have been incredible donors of time and effort to community causes from their time in Maryland, where they donated blood platelets to critically ill patients and founded what became Wood-to-Wonderful, to their expansion of this concept to the nonprofit they continue today in Reading PA. We always knew that every penny we donated to this cause would end up helping disadvantaged, whether by teaching manual skills or by teaching reading to the illiterate. Of all of the charities we have supported, we believe that Wood-to-Wonderful makes the best use of what we are able to give and we are convinced that our contributions have the most impact when we donate to Wood-to-Wonderful .
Sigrid and Harvey

Thomas78

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel very fortunate to have become involved with Doug and Louise at Wood To Wonderful. I was beginning to dissolve my woodworking business when I was introduced to them. Their story of what they were doing with WTW inspired me and I knew I wanted to be involved with them. This past year I cut wood animal puzzles for them and reached a total of 2ooo by the end of the year. I am now committed to working 100% for them and am blessed to be working for two very fine and unselfish individuals. Their work for kids and the handicapped sets an example for all to follow. God has blessed the Reading area with Doug and Louise and and given us all an example of how to treat others and have a compassionate heart. I am honored and humbled to be working with Wood To Wonderful and thankful to God for crossing our paths.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a remarkable organization! Louise and Doug Brown are selflessly committed to adding value to the community. Building skills and self-esteem are at the core of the organization's values. Everything program that WtW sponsors enriches lives. I've observed many community organizations over the years and none has done so much with so little. I wish my community had a Wood To Wonderful!

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been working with Wood To Wonderful for several years as an educator. The kids in my environmental club program have done lots with them. We have painted several hundred 55 gallon drums that went out through the city as recycle and trash receptacles. Wood To Wonderful secured the drums and then had members of my club design and paint them. They also have donated many hours to my club by coming and helping us with earth day activities and teaching kids about the environment.