Tuesday, May 31, 2011

For the month of May, Using My Words has been supporting the efforts of FIRST BOOK.  As this month comes to a close, I wanted to be sure to recap things.  I cannot say enough wonderful things about this organization.  And the lives that they change. It really is a no-brainer to realize that children who have books in their lives will be more successful than those that don’t.  But, it is something more, entirely, to actually do something about it.  Kyle Zimmer, the founder of First Book, decided to do exactly that. 

Kyle was working in the corporate world as an attorney when she became aware of the desperate need for age-appropriate books for children of low-income families.  And, she realized that publishing companies were destroying perfect, untouched books in order to make room for newly published ones.  She had an idea.  What if she could take these books off their hands and get them into the hands of children that could use them?  But, where would she put them?  She started by asking the Coast Guard if she could use their unused warehouse space.  They agreed. 

That was the start of First Book.  They have now partnered directly with multiple Publishing Companies, as well as Corporate Sponsors, to put these books to good use.  And, also to get even more books at highly discounted rates.  It works for all sides.  And, over 80 million books have been gifted to children to date.  Because Kyle decided to act, not just dream.

What I believe to be so special about First Book is that they work diligently to provide a steady stream of books to each child.  Not just a one-time gift.  The best impact is made when these low-income children are able to build libraries of books in their own homes. First Book does their best to adhere to a model of donating 6-12 books a year to each child.  What a phenomenal service to our youngsters! 

That's me with the wonderful children in the Head Start Program.

In the past month, I was able to go to a Recipient Read, as a First Book Volunteer.  There, I was able to read to several children in a local Head Start program.  Then, the best part, I was able to give those children those books to take home with them.  And, they will have received at least five more books throughout the school year, to help build their libraries and encourage them to read at home.  And, through continuing grants for this program, First Book will continue to provide books to these same children while they remain in the Head Start program.  See how it works?  See why it is more effective than other, unstructured book donations? 

As a result of the Recipient Read I participated in, and the Giving Back Giveaway Using My Words did, to benefit First Book, I was asked to join my local Advisory Board for First Book.  And, I couldn’t be more thrilled!  So, you can see, this organization has made its way into my heart. 

And, I’m convinced, that if you were to check out First Book and see how easy it is for you to get involved, you would feel the same way.

First Book is a testament to the fact that one person can make a difference.  And, that person can be you – or me.


Bertelle said...


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