PSA_2754-2There has been a lot happening at Books for Keeps lately, much of it behind the scenes and under the surface.

There are some things still brewing that we can’t share just yet (but they’re good – so keep watching!)

And then there are things that just beg to be talked about. Such big things that – as we started composing Facebook messages and tweets – we realized this announcement needed a little more room to spread out and breathe.

The short of it is this: Books for Keeps is growing. We are growing our service population – serving more students with more books. And we are growing our organizational capacity – hiring another employee to help us get there.

PSA_2559-2Our board of directors has been working on a strategic plan that lays out ambitious projections for growth: 15 new schools within the next five years. By the end of that five-year period, we plan to be in every public elementary school in Athens, five new schools in Atlanta, and three new schools in rural counties. The details of that strategic plan are still being crafted, but these are the broad (and exciting!) strokes.

To meet this five-year goal, Books for Keeps needs the boots on the ground to get it done. So, that’s the next part of this announcement: we are seeking the organization’s second-ever employee. This person will be responsible for managing the Stop Summer Slide! program – helping grow it into more schools, attracting new publishers and vendors as partners, and improving our volunteer program. (UPDATE: Read about our program manager here.)

In 2013, Books for Keeps was an all-volunteer organization serving just five schools in Athens. In the past three years, we doubled our program reach and hired an employee – a first for the organization.

PSA_2816-2We are not resting on our laurels, though. There are so many children out there without books at home. Each summer, they lose ground. The achievement gap is growing before our eyes, under our noses, and the solution is so simple.

These plans are big, and it’s going to take a lot to get us there. Now, more than ever, we are going to need the community’s support – in Athens, in Atlanta, and in any other new areas served. We are working with our partners to identify which schools to expand to over the next several years. And we’re committed to doing it sustainably and intelligently.

There are so many ways to get involved. Please consider joining us, by volunteering, donating books, donating funds, becoming a sponsorhosting a book drive, or just spreading the word. Your contributions could make a difference in the life of a child.