Meagen Cecchetti is a middle school teacher in Lindenwold. Here is what she created in her own words:
"One of best parts of being able to work with BookSmiles is the partnership that it has created with The Goddard School. Because of this partnership and the generosity of the citizens of Medford (and all of Burlington County), we have been able to create an opportunity for students at Lindenwold Middle School to shop for books EVERYDAY! This our newest station where older children can be book distributors for the younger kids in their families. Giving the gift of literacy one book at a time! #booksmiles #unitingcommunities"
BookSmiles now has an international reach! Here I am amid last week's snow flurry with Fred Twum-Acheampong, founder of the African Book Challenge based out of Voorhees. Every year, he contracts a shipping container to transport books, school supplies, computers, and other donations to his hometown in Kwabeng, Ghana.
We committed to supplying 2,000 + books that he will distribute among several schools in Kwabeng in July. Please see the pics of the library he helped open with the help of ABC's supporters. And check out his site. http://africanbookchallenge.org/ .
What's more, Jason Martin, a friend of mine and world traveler, has committed to flying out to Ghana this summer to help Fred distribute the books and other supplies. Drop off school supplies and working computers at Balsamos, his restaurant in Lindenwold!
Thank you so much, students and teachers of Osage Elementary School for pitching in to create a drive that yielded 707 books! And I want to give a big shout out to Lakshmi, Siani, Nivi, and Francesca for spearheading the drive!
Many of the books that you donated are already on a shelf-cart that Mishael and Alberto arranged here at Lindenwold High School. Students will be encouraged to take books home for younger brothers and sisters.
I also had a meeting today with Fred Archeampong who runs a charity called African Book Challenge in conjunction with Ashland Church in Voorhees. BookSmiles pledged to donate 2,000 books that Fred will ship to Ghana. Fred told me that in Ghana it's not uncommon for 50 kids in a classroom to share a few books because that's all they have. Let me know if you're interested in doing another drive this spring. Would you like to send the books to children in Ghana?
Invited by the New Jersey Literacy Association, I was thrilled to present the BookSmiles story at the Unlock Learning Conference today at Middlesex High School. The enthusiasm was overwhelming and dozens of teachers walked away with free books!
I explained to my colleagues how supporters and I were able to gather well over 100,000 gently used children's books in just under two years, simply by putting out calls on social media and building a brand. As teachers, we are uniquely positioned to share and distribute.
What a pleasant surprise running into Dr. Gina Molina-Schiano, the ELA coach at Dr. William Horton School in Newark. My friend Julie Nortillo gathered a full van-load of book for her school!
We had 30 volunteers of all ages who helped sticker and sort over 3,500 books at Beth El's MLK day of service. And we did it in less than two hours!
Thanks Temple Beth Sholom for hosting our book donation bin for eight months. This site yielded a whopping 2,675 books! Here I am pictured with Rabbi Bryan Wexler who will do so much to keep the donations coming!
A ravenous reader, Skyler sourced almost 700 books for her mitzvah project. Congregants from Congregation B'nai Israel in Milburn helped the effort, and her elementary school really pulled through! Here are the cases of books about to be delivered to a KIPP school in Newark! Great job, Skyler!
A huge thanks to Jane Kreisworth Arochas and Vineland High teacher Lindsay Thies for activating the BookSmiles Vineland City branch. VHS students sourced, sorted, and distributed over 1000 books to elementary students at Dippolito Elementary.
Vineland taking care of its own! Nothing better. This is the BookSmiles model at work. We harness the MIGHTY POWER of students and educators to ensure that ALL STUDENTS in our districts are able to build massive personal libraries.
INVEST IN SPREADING LITERACY AND A LOVE OF BOOKS IN SJ. Help us continue to provide free quality books for those who may not be able to afford brand new books at book fairs.https://www.booksmiles.org/donatecontact-us.html
Caitlyn Ott, a 7th Grade student at Glen Landing Middle School, knocked it out of the park by coordinating a drive that gathered 5,807 gently used children's books! AMAZING! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Caitlyn loves books and helping others. With the help of several groups and organizations, Caitlyn was able to make the largest single donation BookSmiles has received. Throughout November, many students at Glen Landing Middle School, the members of The Women’s Club of Broadmoor, Girl Scout Troop #30348, students at St. Charles Borromeo Parish & Religious Education Program Sicklerville, New Jersey, as well as friends and family helped to donate 5,807 gently used & new books to BookSmiles.
Caitlyn hopes to continue these efforts with more book drives in the future.
We at BookSmiles are delighted to establish a collection station at Haddonfield Middle School! This is a town where it's not unusual to for children to have personal libraries consisting of hundreds of books. When they outgrow their baby books, picture books, early chapter books and tween books, BookSmiles will be there to collect and distribute them to children in underserved communities all over South Jersey.
We're thrilled that some extraordinary teachers in Glassboro, NJ have planted BookSmiles in their district. Thomas E. Bowe Elementary is up and running! In less than a month, teachers sourced several hundred books and distributed them to children who want a home library.
BookSmiles augments what Scholastic does with its book fairs. We feel that money should NOT get in the way of a child wanting their own books.
Books should be shared, particularly those forgotten in bins and storage, and those collecting dust on shelves. Booksmiles harnesses powerful networks of teachers committed to putting books into the hands and homes of children in their district. We take care of our own!
A big thanks to Renee, Amy, and Mary, along with the rest of the Glassboro team!