(part of a new monthly series)

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

Fenwick Broyard. Shortly after moving to Athens, I started volunteering at Community Connection of Northeast Georgia. Fenwick suggested I check out BFK. He thought they had a position open. I’m not sure if they did but I researched the organization, fell in love and started volunteering in the warehouse and eventually at the book sale. This lead to being on the Development Committee and subsequent ad-hoc committees which led to the Board of Directors!

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

Volunteering in the warehouse since November 2015. Book sale and Development Committee since 2017 and on the board since January 2018.

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

Why would I not?! It’s such an amazing organization! Reading and education were always important growing up. Reading opens up windows of opportunities and without it your options are limited. I have worked in the human services profession and provided direct service to individuals who cannot read or struggle with reading. I have seen the effects of what happens when we do not take the time to teach children to read. It has lasting effects.

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 last years book distribution, a student picked out twelve of the heaviest books. It was so heavy it trailed behind her. The bag had to weigh more than the student. In general, just seeing the smiles on kids faces. They light up like a Christmas tree! It’s the best feeling to see kids get excited about books!

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

I have volunteered with Community Connection of Northeast Georgia, In Their Shoes Steering Committee in 2016 and 2017 and Interfaith Hospitality Network. As well as the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia in late 2015 and 2016 and Tri to Beat Cancer in 2017 and 2018. I have worked at and volunteered for nonprofits in North Carolina, Connecticut and Maryland. I sat on nonprofit boards in North Carolina.

What strengths are you bringing to Books for Keeps?

My experience in working and volunteering with other nonprofits, specifically helping with fundraisers and special events. My love of networking and community outreach.

What is your favorite memory from working with Books for Keeps?

Hands down, experiencing book distributions last spring! Having started in the warehouse and then volunteering at the book sale, volunteering at book distributions was a full circle moment. It was incredible! One memory that sticks out is when kindergarten and first graders come in to the libraries. They are SO excited to pick out their books they don’t want to listen to instructions. They have to be told multiple times to wait.

Do you have a keen childhood memory related to a particular book? Or an experience with reading – to yourself or to a loved one?

I remember looking forward to the Book Mobile coming on Saturday’s and walking to the public library on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill! The Book Mobile was a giant library on wheels! I could go inside and pick whatever books I wanted! It was the coolest! One of my all time favorite memories!

What is your absolute favorite book?

Their Eyes Were Watching G-d by Zora Neale Hurston

What would you read if you could only read one book for the rest of your life?

Wow, this is hard! Are you serious? This really is a question! The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein