New homes, a birthday party and a seaplane … what do these have in common?
These are all ways that First Book volunteers got books to kids in need this year. First Book has a network of dedicated and passionate volunteers in hundreds of communities in the U.S. and Canada who support our efforts to provide books and educational resources in fun and innovative ways.
Just last year, First Book volunteers distributed over 613,000 books all across the United States! Here are a few of our favorite First Book volunteer stories:
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Tess Reiman, a 9th grader who raised funds for First Book to support Habitat for Humanity in Atlantic Beach, Florida. While her brother volunteered building houses with Habitat, Tess saw that many of the children moving into new homes did not have any books to fill their newly constructed rooms.
Tess created “Project Storybook” and raised the money needed to help get new books into these children’s hands. She then purchased books from the First Book Marketplace and donated baskets of new books to for their new Habitat homes. In her first year, she donated over 200 new books to 40 families.
Seven year old Maguire Brooke loves to read. This year he didn’t want birthday presents. He wanted his friends and family to help him get books to kids in need. With the support of First Book-Seattle he created a virtual book drive, raised $500, donated 200 books to two second-grade classrooms and provided a starter library of six books to each child. Titles included some of Maguire’s favorites, including the Magic Treehouse series and The Diary of A Wimpy Kid.
“It was awesome,” Maguire said. “I’m the proudest person on earth.”
Books by dog sled, boat, ATV and seaplane! Many remote areas in the Alaskan Bush are only accessible via these modes of transportation. That didn’t stop First Book-Anchorage from distributing 47,000 books to schools in over 55 rural Alaskan communities. They also distributed approximately 33,000 books in Anchorage.
Every child from pre-school to 12th grade received 3 to 5 books each. To secure these books, the volunteers fundraised, received in-kind support and connected First Book to local programs and classrooms. There are over 85 K-12 schools located throughout rural Alaska that are not meeting their Academic Yearly Progress (AYP) in more than 4+ years in the area of literacy.
We’ve put tons of new books into the hands of a lot of children in need in the last twenty-plus years and we couldn’t have done it without our volunteers. Thank you!