(part of a new monthly series)

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

I had come across information about BFK from social media and news articles over the years and always admired the work of the organization.  When BFK reached out to our school superintendent about possibly serving Elbert County, he asked me to become involved early on. I met with Leslie and was hooked immediately.

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

I started volunteering at the very first book distribution in Elbert County (2016) and joined the board in October, 2017.

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

I wanted to increase my personal commitment to BFK and also wanted to represent Elbert County.

Have you had an inspiring/memorable interaction with a student since working with Books for Keeps? Tell us about it!

The joy on the faces of the students during book distribution inspires me.  More than once, I have overheard students saying “This is the best day ever!”

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

I am the executive director of Community Partnership of Elbert County, Inc., which is a non-profit that manages the local Family Connection Collaborative activities and provides programs and services to improve outcomes for families and children in Elbert County.  Over the years I have worked with various other non-profits in our community.

What strengths are you bringing to Books for Keeps?

My passion for wanting every child to have the best possible chances for a happy, healthy, and educated life.  I also believe that my almost 18 years as the executive director of a non-profit allows me the ability to understand the unique challenges of non-profit work.

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

Volunteering at book distributions.  Also, that day during the book sale when those children came running up with their BFK totes! It really brought tears to my eyes…tears too now just thinking about it.

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 struggled to learn to read. The persistent encouragement of my parents and the dedication of a special teacher helped me get past that struggle.  I remember the first book I was finally able to read on my own. It was Petey the Peanut Man.  One day several years ago, I was talking with a local elementary principal and shared my struggles with learning to read.  I casually mentioned how I even remembered that first book I was able to read. Several weeks later, the principal asked me to stop by her office.  When I got there, she handed me a gift-wrapped box and inside was a copy of Petey the Peanut Man. All I could do was cry! Few gifts have touched me more deeply.

What is your absolute favorite book?

I really can’t say that I have an absolute favorite book. In my tween years I was always getting in trouble for hiding under the covers reading Nancy Drew books by flashlight.  Then there was that Harlequin Romance phase, but we won’t talk about that too much.  I really enjoy the YA genre too. I guess my favorite classic would be Little Women.

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

Petey the Peanut Man!!!!

Laura pictured center.