Why I Chose First Book: Colleen Ludington

Colleen Ludington, chair of First Book-Charlotte, and her family

Colleen Ludington is a children’s book author, mother of two and community volunteer, and has helped distribute 144,000 new books to children from low-income neighborhood in Charlotte. N.C. over the last five years.

“It’s not just awesome,” she said. “It’s really rewarding.”

Under Ludington’s leadership, First Book’s local Advisory Board in Charlotte has had significant fund-raising success. They throw an annual gala, which raises more money each year. These events require a fair amount of effort and know-how, and the local group meets costs by courting corporate sponsors and underwriters like Time Warner, Cisco, IBM and KPMG. “It can’t be done without that,” said Ludington. “There are certain minimums that it’s going to cost. But we’ve had a lot of success.”

(The board’s 2011 spring gala is May 20. If you’re in the Charlotte area, check it out.)

Ludington has been active in community service most of her life, and she found First Book when she and her family moved to Charlotte. She said that she liked First Book’s mission, it’s specific focus on solving one large problem, and the “economics” of it – the average cost of $2.50 per new book. “To be able to do so much for so little money,” she said. “For most people to give ten dollars … it’s not a hardship.”

She was also moved by the plight of children she saw in low-income schools. One teacher told her that some children resorted to reading the labels on soup cans to complete their required homework of 20 minutes of nightly reading.

“When you stop and consider … there are many, many children in our community who don’t have a single book to snuggle up with at night,” she said. “Until something changes, I don’t see how these kids even have a chance.”

First Book Wants You! Help us get books to kids who need them in your community. To learn more about volunteering, visit us online.