TAMPA (FOX 13) - In the heart of Tampa’s University Area stands a beautiful bright-colored building welcoming visitors to the Harvest Hope Park. It’s one of the many new additions to the USF area, including "dream boxes," which are basically miniature libraries filled with books for every age and every reading level.
“We created the name dream boxes because we feel like giving access to dreams is important in this community. Picking up a book and being able to go to another place is important for the people who live here," said Sarah Combs, CEO of the University Area Community Development Center. “We want them to dream and dream big.”
Michael Streeper is the man behind the boxes, and he’s using his construction background to design and build each library.
“I had no idea that this was going to get as big as it is. It's really pretty amazing that's gone this far. It's very exciting,” said Michael.
The concept is simple. Take a book; leave a book.
“We want you to take them and we want you to use them. Take a book; leave a book. However, if you don’t leave a book we have plenty of books,” said Sarah. “We want to make sure we have the opportunity to get books into the residents’ homes who live here.”
The dream boxes aren’t only improving literacy it’s helping bring families together.
“I thought this was primarily for the children in the area but the families are coming as well and the children are teaching their parents to read. That's pretty neat,” said Michael.
Like most hometown heroes, Michael is too humble to be proud. And that makes his good deed even more special.
“Sometimes you find those special people that come out of the blue and step up in a meaningful way and Michael is definitely one of those people,” said Sarah.
The dream boxes are so popular, the University Area CDC is looking for funding to add 15 more libraries to the neighborhood.