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A World Full of Books

15 Jan

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. All around the country, people are honoring his legacy by holding Weekend of Service events. I thought it’s the perfect time to talk about a few non-profit organizations I’m passionate about whose mission is the same as mine.

The Children’s Book Bank– The Children’s Book Bank gives books to children of low-income families. This allows them to improve their literacy skills and paves the way for them to be lifelong readers.

I’ve been an advocate of the Children’s Book Bank since I participated in their Earth Day Book Drive in April 2010. Besides being a regular volunteer, I have also encouraged my work to volunteer there, held a birthday volunteer session there, and helped out at a couple of their events.

The Children’s Book Bank- Earth Day Children’s Book Drive- April 2010

Yesterday, I led a session at the Children’s Book Bank for MLK Weekend of Service. It was a blast (as always) being with others who were working hard to clean up donated books that would eventually find homes in children’s bookshelves. Of course, there were a lot of reminisces going on of favorite childhood books. The fact that young children can also be part of these sessions- and they were!- makes it more rewarding because you can see what a good education and a life where reading is encouraged can do.

Here I am with one of the volunteers after cleaning books for The Children's Book Bank during the MLK Weekend of Service.

Schoolhouse Supplies– Schoolhouse Supplies collects donations of basic classroom materials (including books) and distributes them through their Free Store for Teachers.

My involvement with Schoolhouse Supplies always seems to find me inside a big box of books to sort through. Not that I’m complaining, of course! It’s incredible (in a sad and ridiculous way) how many basic things teachers are lacking to run a sufficient classroom. How can they focus and dedicate themselves to actual teaching that would benefit their students when they have to worry about whether or not they have the materials for their lessons?

Friends of the Children– While Friends of the Children’s main goal is to provide long-term mentoring for at-risk children, they have started a new initiative called the Million Books for Kids Project.

They have a temporary store front (at a former Borders location) where people can buy books and each purchase equals one donation. I didn’t realize they had partnerships going on with the Children’s Book Bank and Schoolhouse Supplies. It’s a small Book World after all.

Friends of the Children’s Million Books for Kids Project Store Front

Friends of the Children’s Million Books for Kids Project Store

Sometimes, I feel selfish volunteering. It doesn’t seem right that I can help out in my own little way and feel so great afterwards. But, I think Martin Luther King, Jr. did. And I’d like to close with one of his quotes.

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

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