One of Columbus Dispatches 16 Top Stories from 2015

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Year in and year out, any number of central Ohioans find themselves at the center of stories in Life & Arts.

Perhaps they have an unusual talent or intriguing hobby. Maybe they’ve overcome a life-altering setback. Or maybe they set themselves apart professionally or as a community volunteer.

The reasons we choose to write about someone vary widely. And the story, of course, doesn’t end with an article in the newspaper.

So, before we close the books on 2015, we revisited some of the people we showcased during the past 12 months to find out what is new or has changed in their worlds.

Instead of offering a look back, then, this year-end package highlights the present, bringing you up-to-date on selected stories:
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Meagan Warren, center, served as “coin-toss captain” for a Cleveland Browns game in 2015 with the invitation coming from attention from her local nonprofit, Books for Bedtime.

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(Run date: July 7)

A simple donation drive has become a deluge.

Books for Bedtime, the brainchild of 12-year-old Bexley resident Meagan Warren, began in August 2014 as a way to collect and distribute gently used titles to central Ohio children in need.

When profiled by The Dispatch, Meagan had amassed 7,500 books for her nonprofit venture — with most of the stash left on her mother’s doorstep by neighbors and classmates.

The collective total five months later?

Almost 16,000.

“I’m just really proud,” she said. “It’s been amazing.”

Among other recent milestones tied to the effort: large donations of books from the nearby offices of Morgan Stanley and Victoria’s Secret; an offer in September for Meagan to serve as a “coin-toss captain” at a Cleveland Browns game; and, set to run in the coming weeks, an article about Books for Bedtime on “Facebook Stories” — a good-news section housed on the social-networking site.

Meagan also got to meet one of her favorite writers: Columbus young-adult author Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Because Meagan addresses each school or group that benefits from Books for Bedtime, the junior philanthropist has benefited, too.

“I definitely have become a better speaker,” said the seventh-grader, noting that her work will continue.

“I had no idea it would be so widespread. Now I’m planning to do it at least until college.”

— Kevin Joy
kjoy@dispatch.com

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