The Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland recently dedicated a reading garden at its main club on Broadway Avenue, inviting Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams to be the guest storyteller for the occasion.

The event kicked off a summer-long series of guest readers who will be visiting the Boys & Girls Club garden on Fridays, part of the ongoing Slavic Village Reads literacy initiative.

At the ceremony, the police chief proved he had what it takes to keep children enthralled by a book. He kept his audience of youngsters laughing as he read aloud from a humorous children’s book, “Roger, The Jolly Pirate.”

Also at the event, Bill Soeder was recognized for donating his time to design the reading area and build the bench. He is the brother of Boys & Girls Club President Ron Soeder.

Children attending the reading received a free drawstring bag with the Slavic Village Reads logo, provided courtesy of Third Federal and WKYC.

Slavic Village has been recognized as the nation’s first “Little Free Library Neighborhood,” meaning that partner organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club have committed to putting on regular events to improve literacy and promote a love of reading.

An accompanying awareness campaign, called Slavic Village Reads, is sponsored by Third Federal.