What happened to the break we were planning to take when we wrapped up our book distributions? Well, in May we looked 1,000 children in the eyes and promised we'd be back next year. So we are grabbing every opportunity that comes our way... books, books, books. There's simply no time to rest.
I've had trouble writing about my experience distributing books this year. How can a few paragraphs convey something so... something. Why has no word been invented for this? I do have a picture that inspires me to no end:
Books and joy. Maybe those words are enough.
Speaking of grabbing opportunities... this one found us: Books for Keeps has been invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative's CGI America conference in Chicago this June. (Seriously.) What an amazing opportunity for Books for Keeps, and for our efforts to keep Athens kids reading during summer.
It'll take some work to get ready... we don't even have business cards! But we have books, a program based on solid research, a distribution model that works, and committed partners, donors, and volunteers. What a difference a year makes.
Right now we're working on the public commitment we'll make to Athens children as part of our participation in CGI America. Commitment, as in: we WILL do something new and measurable. Public, as in: humiliation if we don't! This past year's approach was "Can we do it? Let's wait and see." Not so for May of 2012.
This public commitment doesn't scare me. You know what does? Facing the kids at Alps, Fowler and Stroud if we don't have books for them again next year. I have complete faith in our Books for Keeps supporters, and Books for Keeps will need you more than ever this year. Thank you for getting us so far, so fast.
PS: Ok, I'll admit what most of you probably already know: I am gobsmacked over this amazing honor and opportunity. Oh my gosh. To think it all started with one little girl.