For the Love of Books
Skimming through the floppy pages of my favorite childhood book, The Velveteen Rabbit, I realized something very important: this book was more than a book; it was a childhood treasure that I wanted to hold onto forever. Its colorful illustrations and touching story brought back memories of reading with my mom before bedtime. I wanted to keep these memories forever, stored safely on my bookshelf where no one could disturb them.
Not long ago, a recent book drive at SBS called for my donation. I understood that giving away this book would benefit the children at Kipp Climb Academy, a non-profit, charter, elementary school, much more than it would benefit me. Still, clutching the book in my hands, I found that it was surprisingly difficult to give away.
The book drive, organized by senior and service prefect Alyssa Aramburu, encouraged students in the lower, middle and upper school to donate gently used or new books. After several weeks of receiving donations, Alyssa was excited to see the impact the books would have on Kipp.
“I have always thought that books are the key to success. It is so important for kids to learn to read and write, as well as enjoy the process of reading and writing. I thought it would be really neat to donate books to kids who are not able to buy their own,” Alyssa said.
Alyssa planned the project from start to finish. She faced challenges along the way that included spreading the word and finding the time to deliver the books. “I have planned small events before, but nothing like this,” Alyssa said, “This involved over 1,000 families around SBS, faculty and administration, and everyone at KIPP,” She added that, through this project, she learned the importance of adjusting her schedule and moving the project forward.
Alyssa was assisted by fellow senior Emily Quatch, who originally suggested donating the books to Kipp Academy. The Kipp school system, a non-profit network of college-preparatory, charter schools across the United States, is dedicated to providing a high quality education to its 80,000 students. In 2016, several new campuses opened in Houston, including Kipp Climb Academy. Through the book drive at SBS, Kipp Climb Academy was able to start a library for its students.
Mr. Brandon Alred, an upper school Bible teacher who helped lead the book drive, described the impact the books had on Kipp. “They were expecting us to bring a handful of books and we brought over 1,000,” Mr. Alred said. He also explained that seeing people come together to help others in a really practical way was a great example of tangibly loving our neighbor.
After we arrived at Kipp, my classmates and I unloaded the van and began filling up the bookshelves. As we unpacked box after box, I began to realize how blessed we were to have access to such a large number of books, as well as have the opportunity to serve others through them.
“I love doing service projects, and this one was extra fun since we were helping kids in need,” Junior Rhianna Bruegger said. She added that she was grateful to be able to provide the kids with access to books that they might not otherwise have.
Nearing the end of the project, I opened up our last box and found my copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. I picked it up and, once more, skimmed through the colorful pages. I felt how I did when I read it for the first time - hopeful and excited. I realized, then, how blessed I was to have the opportunity to share that love of reading with someone else. So, smiling, I set The Velveteen Rabbit on the shelf and stepped away, happy that my book had found a new home.
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