Monthly Archives: September 2019

Looking toward spring 2020 – 20 schools and fulfilling big promises!

This is it.

This year and this milestone were a distant goal four years ago when Books for Keeps adopted its first true strategic plan. It was a pipe dream when I was hired six years ago. And when Melaney Smith, our founder, gave away the first books to a group of second-graders at Alps Road Elementary School in 2009, this was but a twinkle in her eye.

So it has been exhilarating to roll out this news with stakeholders over the past several months and to share it here: as of spring 2020, Books for Keeps will be in all 14 Athens-Clarke public elementary schools – serving a total of 20 schools across 4 Georgia counties.

That means if you have a child in Kindergarten through fifth grade at a Clarke County elementary school – no matter where he or she attends – that child will get to choose 12 books to bring home at the end of this school year. We’re meeting with parents at Chase and Timothy Road elementary schools in the coming weeks to share this news directly with them.

We’re also sharing this news on the heels of a banner year.

500,000 books given away since 2009! Celebrating 10 years!

But by golly, we’re gonna need all the help this community can muster to meet this goal. We need to raise an additional $40,000 from new sources and new commitments to make this a reality.

Is that a really big number for an organization with a budget of less than $500,000 and just three employees? It sure is.

Is it eminently possible? Yes – but only with the help of this incredible community that has helped us grow from a twinkle of an idea into a full-fledged, [...]

By |September 27th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Looking toward spring 2020 – 20 schools and fulfilling big promises!|

Meet board member Denise Payne!

(part of a monthly series)

How did you first hear or learn about Books for Keeps?

I was the opening librarian for JJ Harris Elementary School and was approached by Leslie about bringing BFK to our school.  As soon as she said 12 free books for every student—I was hooked.  I think that  was in 2010.

How long have you been volunteering or serving with Books for Keeps?

When my husband was offered a position at HB Stroud as the assistant principal, I had to leave the media center position there.   When Leslie learned of this, she and a former board member spoke with me about being involved in BFK.   It was a tangible way to stay connected to reading and the students of CCSD.

Why did you choose to serve on the Books for Keeps’ board?

As a child growing up in rural Mississippi, books were my windows to the world.  I want children to have access to the same joy that I get when reading.

Have you had an inspiring/memorable interaction with a student since working with Books for Keeps? (This can be a direct interaction or something you observed.) If so, tell us about it.

There have been too many to name.  From the standpoint of a media specialist–I think the most heartwarming times are when kindergarten students come in and choose the biggest books that they can.   They lug those bags proudly back to their classroom and pour over them.   As a mother, my oldest son participated in BFK and he still had a couple of books from a distribution. He is now a senior and can still vividly recall getting books from BFK distributions.

What strengths are you bringing to Books for Keeps?

A positive attitude, a willingness to [...]

By |September 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet board member Denise Payne!|