A Novel Idea
Last year, our mom shared with us an article about high schools in the Houston area that don’t have a library. As longtime lovers of books and reading, we were in disbelief and disappointed to learn of the void. Around the same time, we noticed that many students were discarding the novels they had read throughout the year as the school year was ending. We started brainstorming on ways to help and combine the two to benefit those in need. This is how A Novel Idea came into existence.
Aiding in literacy wasn’t new to us, since we had created projects benefiting organizations that promote literacy (Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation Houston and Neuhaus Education Center). Through contacts we had made through these efforts, we put together a plan. Every person we spoke with wanted to get involved. We met as a group earlier this year and mapped out how to approach schools for their involvement, timing for book drives, collection, goal, sorting and delivery.
Mechiel Rozas, HISD’s director of secondary literacy, suggested a high school in the Sunnyside area as the recipient of the books collected. Sandra Ahlhorn and Trenton Ormsbee-Hale from Books Between Kids offered their space to hold and sort the books until delivery. We, along with Cole Colley, a student at St. Thomas High School, collected hundreds of books. Students PJ Rozas (Heights High School), Rebecca Duran (HSPVA), Allie Guerra (HSVPA), Henry Huelskamp (Lamar) and Jane Skjonsby (Bellaire) also planned book drives at their schools.
We sorted all the books that were collected and, in all, we received 1,070 books to donate to Worthing High School, and donated 200 books to Books Between Kids for younger kids. Since then, we’ve collected several more bags that we’ll sort and deliver in time for the start of school.
We plan to continue these efforts and hope other students and schools will join too.
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