2.20.2012

S.O.S.

We're 12,000 books short of our goal, and distributions start in 10 weeks. It's a bad time to ask for help, I know. But this is serious. Books for Keeps can't do this without more help from our supporters. 2,000 children in 5 Athens schools are counting on receiving 12 books each... starting April 30th.

Have we tapped out the Athens market for used children's books? I'm out of ideas, and starting to panic. Forget about the public humiliation of not honoring a commitment made to a former U.S. President... it's about keeping Athens children in school.

Yes - you read that correctly: keeping children in school.

Our program is not a feel-good program that exists to make children happy - although we do believe it will help instill a love of reading. It's a program based on research that shows 12 books per child helps prevent summer slide. If we can keep these elementary school children reading during summer, they're less likely to be 2 years behind their classmates in reading achievement by 6th grade.

Which means they're less likely to drop out of school. Which means they're more likely to be productive members of society when they grow up. I actually believe this; I know many of you do, too, and the research backs up this belief.

Books for Keeps reaches reluctant readers from low-income families by providing books so enticing, so fun to read, that children will read without any encouragement from an adult during summer.

We don't know the children's home situations. Perhaps their parents can't read, or don't understand that importance of reading. Perhaps their parents aren't home during the day... or have past-due fines at the library... or don't have a car, or bus fare, to get to the library. For whatever reason, studies have shown that children from low-income families have far less access to books outside of school, through no fault of their own, and it jeopardizes their futures.

3 years ago, I met a little girl who loved to read but didn't own a single book. I got so mad, and thought "Why doesn't someone DO something about this?" I've been trying be that someone ever since, and many have joined in this effort. But we need more help. Lots more help. And we need it fast.
  • Can you make a tax-deductible donation, right now? If not, how about your company... church.. book club? I'm negotiating to purchase new books for around $1 each.
  • Can you organize a book drive at your home, office, or church? How about your child's school?
  • Can you share our story on your Facebook page?
  • Do you have contacts you can use to help us?
Athens has rallied around Books for Keeps in the past, and we've always made our goal at the last minute. But we've never come close to collecting 12,000 books in 10 weeks. Will you help?

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