Books for Keeps blog

Melaney is setting a BIG goal again…

The following is a guest post from Books for Keeps founder and board member Melaney Smith. When she started giving books to Athens children in 2009, she had no idea the program would blossom into a full-fledged nonprofit. She set goals for herself – and the goals kept getting bigger. Now, she’s setting her biggest goal of all to mark her 50th birthday. In Melaney’s words:

Six years ago, I appealed for help when I met a little girl who loved to read, but was facing a summer without books. Not a single book in her home, and no access to the public library. Her teacher told me that many of her classmates were in the same boat, and would fall behind in school as a result.

I asked for help, and a miracle occurred. Family, friends, book lovers, and regular folks all over the U.S. responded, and the result was Books for Keeps, a research-based program that gives away 45,000 books each year to prevent summer slide. This video tells the story better than I ever could.

I started out with a blog to reach people and ask for help. I’m hoping this method still holds its magic. Because here it goes: another request for help, six years later.

I’m trying to raise $50,000 by my 50th birthday, to reach more children. I’ve got til the end of November, but hey, I’ll be 50 for a whole year so let’s see how it goes. My late start is due mostly to fear of failure, but I’m taking the leap.

Like last time, my first step is to ask for help. I hope you will. Here are some ideas:

Make a donation. If just 200 people were willing to contribute $250 each, I [...]

By |August 18th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Melaney is setting a BIG goal again…|

Buy Preview Night tickets

BFK Book Sale Preview Night
Get first crack at our amazing selection of used books – thousands of titles priced from 50 cents to $3.

Tickets – for Preview Night only – are $10. All preview night patrons will be entered into a door prize basket that includes autographed copies of books by local authors and a hand-made quilt (for snuggling up with a good book!) Can’t attend but still want to make a donation? Your name will be entered into a drawing for the door prize anyway.

 

By |July 24th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Buy Preview Night tickets|

Distribution time is here – sign up to volunteer!

It’s that time of year when our hearts swell. It’s like Christmas, and we get to feel like Santa Claus, giving more than 45,000 books away to children all over Athens, Atlanta, and Warrenton.

Join us as we help children select and count their books and record their feedback on our book selection. This is the ultimate volunteer experience! Share in the joy of a books for keeps distribution by signing up to volunteer with us.

No special skills are required; training is provided in the first 10 minutes of each shift – so the most important requirement is to show up on time! Sign up for a shift at handsonnortheastgeorgia.org.

If you are part of a group that would like to adopt an entire shift, please email Leslie Hale to sign them up: leslie.hale@booksforkeeps.org.
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OGLETHORPE AVENUE ELEMENTARY
Monday, April 27 – 7:55-11:30 a.m. and 12-1:45 p.m. (p.m. SHIFT FULL)
Tuesday, April 28 – 8:05-10:45 a.m. (a.m. SHIFT FULL) and 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m. (p.m. SHIFT FULL)

DOWNTOWN ACADEMY
Monday, April 29 – 9-10:45 a.m.

FREEMAN ELEMENTARY – WARRENTON, GA
Thursday, April 30 – 7:55-11 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

STROUD ELEMENTARY
Friday, May 1 – 7:45-11:20 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-2:50 p.m.

DUNBAR ELEMENTARY – ATLANTA
Monday, May 4 – 7:55-11:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.-2:40 p.m.

ALPS ROAD ELEMENTARY
Tuesday, May 5 – 7:45-11:05 a.m. (a.m. SHIFT FULL) and 12-2:50 p.m. (p.m. SHIFT FULL)

GAINES ELEMENTARY
Wednesday, May 6 – 7:55-11:30 a.m. and 12:05-1:50 p.m. (p.m. SHIFT FULL)
Thursday, May 7 – 8-11:35 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.-2:10 p.m.

FOWLER DRIVE ELEMENTARY
Monday, May 11 – 7:55-11:05 a.m. and 11:20 a.m.-2:15 p.m.
Tuesday, May 12 – 10:35 a.m.-2 p.m.

WINTERVILLE ELEMENTARY
Wednesday, May 13 – 7:55-11:20 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.-2:40 p.m.

J.J. HARRIS ELEMENTARY
Thursday, May 14 – 7:45-11:10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.-12:25 p.m.
Friday, May 15 [...]

By |April 7th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Distribution time is here – sign up to volunteer!|

A BFK family’s story

When Trion Brown’s daughter, Z’mia, came bounding home with a tote bag full of books one day after school last spring, she was excited for her daughter, a kindergartener. But, she was also a little apprehensive.

“When I started seeing the princess books, I thought, ‘Oh, Lord, how am I going to afford all of these books?” Trion recalls. “We’re going to have to return these books and it’s going to break her heart.”

Then, Trion read the letter from tucked in with the books. It explained that the books were Z’mia’s to keep – from Books for Keeps. That they would help Z’mia’s brain expand and grow stronger during the summer. And, that every child in Z’mia’s school – all 400 students at Dunbar Elementary in Atlanta – got to pick out 12 books each and take them home, just like Z’mia, thanks to the efforts of Books for Keeps.

“She told me that she had picked them out herself,” Trion says. “She read the titles out to me. I knew that she could read, but I was amazed at how well she could read.”

That night, Trion and Z’mia read together all evening. They read until it was almost time to get up again, Trion jokes.

And then summer came, and Z’mia kept reading.

“This summer, she picked up books more than anything – more than a toy,” she says. “I don’t think her involvement in books would be as much if it weren’t for the books she got in the spring.”

And then fall came. When Z’mia entered the first grade, she received a reading assessment. Z’mia’s teacher was starting the process of putting students into groups according to their reading levels.

“Z’mia blew out all of the reading [...]

By |November 20th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on A BFK family’s story|

Bargain-hunting for a cause

Love shopping a good yard sale? Love giving to charity? Wish you could do both at the same time?

Wish no longer!

This Saturday, October 25, a few local families will be hosting yard sales to benefit Books for Keeps. They will be selling off their unwanted items and donating a portion of all proceeds back to Books for Keeps. It’s as simple as that.

This is the first year for this fundraiser, so we have just a couple of yard sales signed up. They will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following addresses:

125 Wilcox Street, Athens
270 Brookwood Drive, Athens
295 Pebble Creek Drive, Athens

Out of town? Otherwise engaged? No problem! We are inviting folks to use our Facebook event page as a marketplace. Feel free to post items there for sale or peruse the items listed to sell.  List anything you wish to sell there through the end of October and follow up by sending BFK a portion of your sale (suggested 20%).

Instructions for Sellers on Facebook:

Please add only one photo per item to keep photo and description linked. You can continue to add different “views” by uploading photos to the comments under the photo.
Please delete items after they sell, or write the word SOLD in the comments section under your photo. Next, just remit your percentage of your sale to BFK either online or via check. Info on how to send us your donation can be found here at our website.

Feel good about the fact that you just lightened the load at your home and supported BFK!

Instructions for Buyers on Facebook:

Send a private message to the seller to arrange a meeting to exchange money for goods. Enjoy your purchase and [...]

By |October 21st, 2014|How You Can Help|Comments Off on Bargain-hunting for a cause|

October Book Drive Month is here!

If you haven’t signed up to host a book drive, it’s not too late!

Hosting a book drive is an easy two-step process:

Place an empty box in your garage or your workplace’s lobby.
Email your co-workers, neighbors, family and friends and let them you’re hosting a book drive for Books for Keeps!

That’s it!

Simple, right?! By hosting a book drive, you’ll help us reach an audience that we’ve never reached before, and it’s a great way for people to do a little spring cleaning in October.

If you, your business, your church, or a civic group you belong to would like to host a book drive, please email Merryn at merrynwalker@yahoo.com to sign up and to receive an electronic copy of book drive poster sign!

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While we’re on the topic, we wanted to say THANK YOU to the groups that are currently hosting a book drive for us. We appreciate you!

If you would rather donate books instead, here are the groups that already have book drives underway:

Alpha Beta Gamma-Chi Zeta Chapter at Athens Technical College
Avid Book Club
Beta Club – North Oconee High School
Central Clarke High School
Classic City Lions Club
Delta Zeta
House Electric
The University of Georgia School of Law
Learning Ally
Phi Mu
Phi Sigma Pi
Pi Beta Phi – Alpha Chapter
Total Training Center
Diane K.

 

By |October 9th, 2014|Drop-off Locations, How You Can Help|Comments Off on October Book Drive Month is here!|

Class Sponsor Spotlight: Classic City Orthodontics and Athens Lions Club

This is part of a series of blog posts profiling the sponsors that adopt a classroom, a grade level, or an entire school through charitable giving. We couldn’t do what we do without the folks and businesses in the community that step up to ensure that an entire group of children has access to high-quality books all summer long.
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As a returning class sponsor, Classic City Orthodontics holds a special place in the collective heart of Books for Keeps. When our nonprofit was still young and proving itself in the Athens Community, Dr. Tradd Harter and his practice demonstrated that they believed in what Books for Keeps was trying to build.

Dr. Harter’s practice was also one of the first local businesses to host a book drive benefiting Books for Keeps. Classic City Orthodontics now holds a drive every fall. It has become so much a part of their routine that they remind patients to bring books to donate when making appointment confirmation phone calls.

Classic City Orthodontics does an amazing thing by sponsoring a classroom, ensuring every child in that class will go home with 12 books and a tote bag to carry them. But, the book drives hosted by Classic City Orthodontics are perhaps just as astounding. In the fall of 2013, at both their Athens and Watkinsville locations, Dr. Harter’s practice collected 900 children’s books to benefit Books for Keeps!

Thank you Dr. Harter and staff for your dedication to Books for Keeps!
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The Athens Lions Club is a first-time class sponsor this year, and we are so very happy to have them on board!

As with so many of our wonderful sponsors, the Lions Club’s commitment to Books for Keeps started with [...]

By |August 21st, 2014|Sponsor Spotlight, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Class Sponsor Spotlight: Classic City Orthodontics and Athens Lions Club|

Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: The Network for Public Education

This is part of a series of blog posts profiling the sponsors that adopt a classroom, a grade level, or an entire school through charitable giving. We couldn’t do what we do without the folks and businesses in the community that step up to ensure that an entire group of children has access to high-quality books all summer long.
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The Network for Public Education signed on as one of our first-ever Grade-Level sponsors, and the fit is so appropriate. This advocacy group was formed to fight on behalf of the public school system in the United States.

The mission, according to the nonprofit’s website is: “to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations of students. We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, and share information about what works and what doesn’t work in public education.”

Thank you to the Network for Public Education for bringing this support to Books for Keeps!

By |August 18th, 2014|Sponsor Spotlight|Comments Off on Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: The Network for Public Education|

Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: Elks Lodge #790

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will profile the sponsors that adopt a classroom, a grade level, or an entire school through charitable giving. We couldn’t do what we do without the folks and businesses in the community that step up to ensure that an entire group of children has access to high-quality books all summer long.
***

The Athens Elks Lodge #790 made the increased commitment to become a grade-level sponsor in 2014 after sponsoring a class in 2013 – but this civic group and nonprofit is so much more than a monetary sponsor to Books for Keeps.

Members from the Elks have donated books for our annual BFK Book Sale, our biggest fundraiser of the year (including a whole trailer-load of books just in time for this year’s sale!) They have loaned tables to Books for Keeps for the annual sale, and returned to shop the sale, as well. And they have brought their support full-circle by volunteering at book distributions – most recently at Fowler Drive Elementary School in May of this year.

This full complement of support to Books for Keeps – as book donor, as monetary supporter, as volunteer force – is a rare and beautiful thing, and it speaks volumes to the Elks’ commitment to the community where they live. It’s also an active testament to their motto, Elks Care, Elks Share.

Books for Keeps thanks the Athens Elk Lodge for caring about our mission and the kids we serve – and sharing so selflessly with our organization.

By |August 18th, 2014|Sponsor Spotlight|Comments Off on Grade-level Sponsor Spotlight: Elks Lodge #790|

The Inaugural Books for Keeps Yard Sale!

Get ready clean out your garage or storage closet because the inaugural Books for Keeps Yard Sale is just around the corner! You can get rid of unwanted items, make a profit, and support Books for Keeps all at the same time!

On October 25, 2014, Books for Keeps is inviting you to participate in this unique first-time fundraiser. We are hoping you will host a yard sale and donate a percentage of the profits to support summer reading by students from low-income families. The best thing about it is that it’s not limited to folks in Athens, Atlanta or even Georgia- you can host a yard sale anywhere!

Here is how it works in three easy steps:

First, let everyone know about your yard sale.  It can be as simple as spreading the word about your yard sale with signs, emails, text messages and flyers to your family, co-workers and neighbors. Sign up to host your yard sale benefit and we’ll provide you with flyers, signs and email language to help you promote your yard sale.

Ready to sign up already? Email Kim Klonowski to get on our list early!

Second, SELL! Deliver a solid sales pitch and remind customers that you are doing good deed by donating a percentage of your proceeds to Books for Keeps.

Finally, divvy up the profits. You will keep a majority of your yard sale income, and we will ask that you donate a small percentage of the profits to Books for Keeps.

You can either donate the amount on our website or mail a check to Books for Keeps, P.O. Box 49761, Athens, GA  30604.

Although October 25 may seem far from now, it is never too early to begin planning and spreading the word via email to your neighborhood [...]

By |June 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Inaugural Books for Keeps Yard Sale!|