Books for Keeps blog

How to be a part of BFK Community Read-Alouds!

Ever thought about being a YouTube star? It couldn’t be easier these days and now’s your chance! Books for Keeps is looking for community members to help record more read-aloud videos to post and share with all our families, friends, and loved ones stuck at home. If you’re wondering whether or not you can do it, you definitely can, and here’s how.

It takes less than 10 minutes of your time to get your 15 minutes of fame! Follow the step-by-step instructions below to join in the fun. Feel free to reach out to Justin@booksforkeeps.org if you have any questions, comments, or concerns with your video. We’re here to help!
Check out our YouTube channel with current read-alouds here!

 

 

Intern with Books for Keeps this Summer and/or Fall!

Books for Keeps is seeking interns to serve this summer. Those interested, and available, in a fall internship are also encouraged to apply.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and individuals with fall availability are preferred but not required. To see what we’re looking for, check out each of the descriptions below. To apply, please send resume and cover letter to the email address of the corresponding intern supervisor.

BFK Grants and Research Intern posting – Summer 2020
BFK Program & Volunteer Management Intern posting – Summer 2020

 

Meet board member Chandra Mincey!

(part of a monthly series)

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

I learned about Books for Keeps when my daughter was in 4th grade and got to participate. Earlier in the year, I met Leslie to learn more about the organization and get some ideas about how to get involved. After speaking with her, I was ready to be a part of it! I thought it was a phenomenal idea that was much needed.

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

4 years as a volunteer, [this is my] 1st year as a board member.

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

Anytime we advocate for literacy, we advance the growth of our community exponentially. Reading is the gateway to learning. Learning leads to growth. Being a part of the board gives me the opportunity to do something I am passionate about with some really cool people.

Have you had an inspiring/memorable interaction with a student since working with Books for Keeps?

The first time I volunteered for my first book distribution was at H. B. Stroud Elementary. I intended on splitting my shift with co-workers. However, we were all having so much fun , we all ended up staying for an entire shift! It was such an inspiring experience interacting with the kids and watching their excitement over the books…the kids’ excitement made us excited! They thanked us as if we’d done something really grand! It was a great feeling.

Have you worked with other non-profits in the past? Which ones?

I am an active youth and children’s volunteer with my church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, West. I also volunteer with the Rites of Passage [...]

By |February 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet board member Chandra Mincey!|

Books for Keeps is hiring for Spring Distributions 2020!

Books for Keeps is looking to hire up to two additional part-time seasonal staff members to help administer our Stop Summer Slide program this Spring. 2020 marks the first year we’ll be in every Clarke County Elementary School and we’ll need all the help we can get to make this year the best ever for the students in our community, and beyond.

The part-time, spring program coordinator position was created to provide vital support to Books for Keeps staff during spring book distributions. The Books for Keeps spring program coordinators will report to the program manager. This is a temporary position beginning after March 30 and ending by June 5. The Books for Keeps spring program coordinators will be paid $15.00 per hour on a contract basis.

This position relies heavily on the ability to interact positively with students, teachers, and volunteers. It is also dependent on the candidate’s ability to lift boxes – typically between 15 and 35 pounds apiece – repeatedly over a 4-5 hour period. The work is hard, but the rewards of helping students fall in love with reading abound!

The schedule for this position will fluctuate based on the needs of the program. Candidates must have availability between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. at least two days per week from March 30 through June 5. Some days will be shift-based, with hours from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., or from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours will be scheduled two to six weeks in advance, but may change based on shifting needs and availability of other staff. See below for an approximate schedule.

 

March 25th: 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.: Spring Key Volunteer Training
March 30 – April 10: 5 [...]

By |February 3rd, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Books for Keeps is hiring for Spring Distributions 2020!|

Meet new board member, Deirdre Sugiuchi!

by BFK board member Deirdre Sugiuchi
(part of a monthly series)

When I first heard of Books for Keeps, I was a school library media specialist at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School. Melaney Cook-Smith had just piloted the organization at Alps Road Elementary. I knew that my students loved books and loved reading books but often did not have reading materials at home. I knew that the reason I was a strong reader was because I grew up in a home with lots of books. I wanted my students at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary to have the same opportunities.

It took a few years before there was funding for Oglethorpe to be a part of Books for Keeps, but once OAES was involved, the day they visited was hands down the favorite day of the year. My students loved being able to choose their own books, put them in their own book bag, and take them home to keep and read over and over. As soon as we got back to school in the fall, they would ask me when Books for Keeps was coming, even though they knew Books for Keeps wouldn’t visit until May. They were that excited about having their own books to read.

Recently I left education to focus on writing, but I was a school library media specialist for over a decade. I’ve always been passionate about getting kids excited about reading. Once I left teaching I knew I still wanted to be involved in promoting reading in Athens-Clarke County and Georgia at large. Joining the Books for Keeps board seemed like the best and most effective way I could make a difference.

I believe in Books for Keeps because I have seen the difference it makes. [...]

By |January 10th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet new board member, Deirdre Sugiuchi!|

2020 distribution dates are officially set!

2020 Book Distribution dates are set*!  Thanks to your generosity this giving season, we’ll be giving away 108,000 books this spring to children at 20 schools Athens, Atlanta, Warrenton, and Elberton. Mark your calendars now to make sure you don’t miss this chance to experience the magic of helping students in your community pick out their 12 free books for summer – for keeps!

As always, we will be taking group reservations of groups of 8 to 15 people that would like to adopt and work an entire shift at a particular school. Fore more information about this option, email us now to start coordinating with our Program Manager, Justin Bray.  justin@booksforkeeps.org

Stay tuned to our social media in the new year for an announcement when sign ups are ready!

*While these are the dates we’ve set in partnership with schools, note that dates can always change due to scheduling needs by the school. That being said, if there’s a school you REALLY want to volunteer at, be sure to mark your calendar now!

April 7, 2020: Downtown Academy- Athens, GA

April 13-15, 2020: Elbert County Elementary School- Elberton, GA

April 15-16, 2020: J.J. Harris Elementary School- Athens, GA

April 16-17, 2020: Timothy Road Elementary School- Athens, GA

April 17, 2020: Benteen Elementary School- Atlanta, GA

April 20-21, 2020: Elbert County Primary School- Elberton, GA

April 22-23, 2020: Dunbar Elementary School- Atlanta, GA

April 28-29, 2020: Fowler Drive Elementary School- Athens, GA

April 30 – May 1, 2020: Winterville Elementary School- Athens, GA

May 1 & 4, 2020: Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School- Athens, GA

May 4-5, 2020: Gaines Elementary School- Athens, GA

May 5-7, 2020: Whitehead Road Elementary School- Athens, GA

May 7-8, 2020: Stroud Elementary School- Athens, GA

May 8, 2020: Freeman Elementary School- Warrenton, GA

May 12-13, 2020: Barnett Shoals Elementary School- Athens, GA

May 13-14, 2020: Chase Street Elementary School- Athens, GA

May 14, 2020: Cleveland Road Elementary School- [...]

By |December 9th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 2020 distribution dates are officially set!|

Giving Tuesday – it doesn’t matter HOW you give, just THAT you give

Donate time, donate treasure, or set up a Facebook fundraiser, and help us raise $20,000 in ONE DAY.
“We’re not participating in Giving Tuesday this year because it’s just gotten too big.”

We see this a lot from fellow nonprofit organizations as the joint holiday / giving season approaches. And we get it.

Giving Tuesday has gotten big. It’s now a global movement with nonprofits and non-governmental organizations participating across 60 countries. It’s a day of focused, almost frenzied generosity, leveraging our very human desire to be part of a group and identify with a common cause.

Here in our corner of the world, Giving Tuesday is big for us. In 2018, Books for Keeps raised $14,300 in just 24 hours on Giving Tuesday (which now coincides with Georgia Gives Day).

This year, we’re setting our sights on raising $10,000 from individuals and businesses on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd, to meet a $10,000 matching challenge from past and present BFK board members. You read that right – our past and current board members will be matching every dollar until we reach our goal of $10,000 on that day. That’s a combined $20,000 toward a REALLY BIG year-end goal to raise $90,000 needed to stay on track for our first program expansion in two years.

As the clamor for donations and contributions on this day of giving has reached fever pitch, though, many folks feel that they’re being hit over the head – repeatedly – by solicitations.

It’s why we’re being careful, selective, and targeted about how (and when) we remind our supporters and followers about Giving Tuesday. We’re scheduling our monthly MailChimp newsletter to hit inboxes on Giving Tuesday this year so that – instead of reminder emails, plus our [...]

By |November 12th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Giving Tuesday – it doesn’t matter HOW you give, just THAT you give|

Meet board member Jillian Farr!

(part of a monthly series)

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

I am a full-time MBA student at UGA’s Terry College of Business, and I learned about Books for Keeps through my program’s Non-Profit Board Fellows Program. The program connects MBA students with Athens-area non-profits and students serve as nonvoting, ex officio members through the four semesters of the MBA program. I knew immediately after learning about Books for Keeps and its mission that I’d love to be part of the organization. Luckily the Books for Keeps team felt the same way! 😊

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

I have been serving with Books for Keeps since August of 2018 as a board member and as part of the Community Development and Marketing Committees.

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

I come from a family of educators and have been an avid reader since I was very young. I believe reading played a huge part in my early development, and the mission of Books for Keeps is one that I feel incredibly passionate about.

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.

At my first book distribution this past spring, I had one particular interaction that still makes me tear up (in the best way!) to this day. A kindergartner asked me to help her pick out her books, so we made our way around the different tables in the media center and she chose books she was excited about. When we got to the 12th book, I excitedly let her [...]

By |November 11th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet board member Jillian Farr!|

But why THAT promise?

For most people, the WHAT is a no-brainer.

Books are easy to get behind. It’s easy to grasp the importance of reading and literacy in building a successful life. Almost everyone who works with us – from staff to donors to volunteers to board members – can point to a way that books (or one single book) transformed their lives.

So, books – and making them easy to get access to – are the easy part for us to sell.

It’s all of the other details that get stickier. The WHY’s.

Why 12 books? (Because the research we founded our program on points to this as the sweet spot for moving literacy skills during summer.)

Why give them away rather than loan them? (Because pride of ownership and removing the fear of losing or damaging a book liberate many children and families to truly embrace this process.)

And then we come to the big question. The question we’ve been driving toward and aligning strategy around for the past five years: 

Why those schools?

Each school we serve is high-need. Every single one. We started out at just a few schools here in Athens that represent the most extreme need: 90 percent or more free/reduced-price lunch. As we grew outside of Athens, we targeted schools in Atlanta and in rural areas with the same characteristics.

And a few years later we set our sights on a big goal: to serve every child attending a Clarke County elementary school.

We’re finally fulfilling that goal this year – reaching every single child in grades K through 5 at all 14 elementary schools in Athens.

We couldn’t be more excited, and we want you to be excited too – here’s WHY.

Our home county has a lot of need. With [...]

By |October 11th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on But why THAT promise?|

Meet board member Joan Prittie!

(part of a monthly series)

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

Through Vicky Wilkins [friend of founder, Melaney Smith, and early board member] when I was teaching in the MPA program 8-9 years ago, before Leslie was hired. My class helped the board do some planning and also taught the board some fundraising fundamentals to help them obtain the resources needed to hire an executive director.

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

There was this initial work through my class and then a bit of a gap. I have now been on the board of directors for 5 years. I had previously met with Vicky and Melaney before the class project, but board service was the next move.

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

Certainly the experience working with and getting to know Melaney and the early supporters helped me learn the story and get to know the mission. But also a lifelong love of reading instilled by my family played a big part. I want all children to have the gift of that experience [of loving reading] and have access to books.

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.

Yes. I was at a distribution at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, and I was checking in with a couple of little girls after they had made their selection of books.
They lived in the same federally funded housing community, and they had been very strategic in choosing their books. They chose all different books so that they could trade their books [...]

By |October 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet board member Joan Prittie!|