The following is a guest blog post by board member Stephen Nobles, and part of our monthly board member spotlight series. Stephen joined the Books for Keeps board in January of this year, and by day, he serves as program registrar and data specialist with the Clarke County School District.

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Books for Keeps for me has been a dream come true. Not a personal dream for me today at my current age – but a dream that I had as a child who had a love for reading and a true belief in the power of books. I WISH when I was a child something like Books for Keeps existed!! I knew very little about the organization but was immediately intrigued when I learned about their mission, goals, and the work they had been doing for children throughout the state of Georgia!
I know first hand the benefits that come along with a love for reading. Those benefits go so far beyond the words in the books. My mother was a huge advocate for literacy and literature and she instilled those same core values in me.

I have read to more than 1,000 students throughout the state of Georgia for my “LIT About Literacy” Program, and after meeting Leslie (Hale, executive director) and being introduced to the other amazing and passionate board members it was a no-brainer for me to align myself with Books for Keeps. To me it was a win-win!

I can remember the joy that came with finishing a book cover to cover. I can remember the first time I read Homer’s, “The Odyssey” and being instantly thrown into an amazing world of Sirens, cyclops, and the travels of Odysseus! I see that same joy and excitement on the faces of the children when they enter their school’s media center to choose their 12 books during a Books for Keeps book distribution! I have done more than 15 book distributions as a volunteer and now as a board member and seeing that joy and those smiles NEVER gets old.

I am not only a Board Member for Books for Keeps and serve on the Strategic Planning Committee, but I also believe in what they are trying to accomplish. As an employee of Clarke County School District, I am in a unique position to act as a liaison with the district and Books for Keeps.

I personally feel like every county and school district that is currently being served by Books for Keeps are benefiting in ways seen and unseen. Not only are the children benefiting from receiving books but the families of those children are benefiting as well. That alone is why I love being a part of such a major push for literacy and exposing students from multiple counties to the wonder world of books and reading!