Book Buddies concluded the 2017 – 2018 year in great style, building on the growth we’ve experienced every year since our beginning in 2014.
This year we were able to hold May Book Celebrations in 13 elementary schools in SAISD, and for the first time every child in every one of those schools got to choose 5 books! This means that in all 35,095 books were given to the schools, and 6,306 children in grades Pre-K through 7 were able to take books to start their home libraries. Leftover books stayed at the schools, where they can be used for other projects such as reading nooks or prizes for achievement next year.
There was lots of excitement as the kids confronted tables piled high with books — and not all of it was from the kids. The teachers and librarians facilitating the events were pretty enthusiastic, too! We received some cute and heartwarming thank-you notes from many children. Below are some of our favorites.
In addition to the books given out at our Book Celebrations, Book Buddies also shared 3,400 books with the SAYL Reading Buddy Program so that mentors could give three books to every child to take home and keep. Moreover, we served several other non-profits with books too advanced for the children we serve or otherwise not acceptable for Book Buddies (such as religious books, which we can’t include in giving to public schools). Groups such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Pearl Rotary’s summer children’s program, J-Jireh Ministries for foster care, and the Methodist children’s summer program received over 2,000 books to help boost their literacy efforts.
In all, Book Buddies provided over 40,000 books to children this year, doubling the number given last year! And we were able to serve over 3,000 more students, not counting children served by other agencies benefiting from our excess books.
This success does not come without hard work. Book Buddies volunteers are second to none in donating time, brains, and muscle to getting those books ready for their new owners. Over 800 hours of sorting alone went into this year’s effort. And that doesn’t include the many hours given in organizing book drives, picking up and delivering books to our headquarters, recruiting and organizing volunteers, record-keeping, and all the other activities that go into making sure we have those tens of thousands of books gathered and ready to go to the schools at the end of May.
Book Buddies owes a huge THANK YOU to everyone who gave time, thought, and effort to making this year the success it was. There is every reason to believe that 2019 will be even better!
Jane Welch, Book Buddies Coordinator