What do you get when you combine a local boy scout troop,
a local business with a commitment to giving back to the community, and an education
foundation? An opportunity to put books into the hands of kids who need them,
Discover Books' Market Manager, Ava Jordan, was
contacted by Boy Scout Troop 109B’s Committee Chair, Nancy May. May was hoping
to secure 200 children's books to give to The Educational Foundation of BCPS.
Discover Books was thrilled to help, but Jordan saw an opportunity to provide
even more. May had no idea when she first called Discover Books that they would
be so willing to give. May put Jordan in direct contact with Deborah Phelps,
Executive Director of The Educational Foundation of BCPS. A plan was developed to deliver 4,000
children's books directly to the BCPS foundation supporting the RISE for a Brighter
Future (Relief in Securing Education) campaign.
As the learning landscape took a drastic shift across
our country and around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, RISE was
launched by the foundation. RISE sustains
equitable access to critical education supplies and resources and provides support
for the delivery of remote and in-person learning by BCPS teachers and for BCPS
student’s growth, as aligned with the needs of the district and as directed by
the Superintendent during these challenging times and beyond. RISE is comprised
of Tools for School (academic classroom and therapeutic art supplies and
social-emotional resources for a student’s and teacher’s wellbeing) to support
the Continuity of Learning and Books for Bins (level appropriate books,
Pre-K through 12) to support student Continuity of Learning and Literacy.
This donation comes at the tail end of the SEL Summit
held in February by BCPS. The summit focused on the children's social-emotional
health in the community, which included helping staff, parents, and caregivers.
According to the summit's website, three key goals were highlighted
"awareness (self-awareness and self-regulation), relationships (social
awareness and social relations), and decision-making.” Reading books helps one
reset and relax, and studies have shown that reading increases empathy and
emotional intelligence as well.
Discover Books is a for-profit company that believes
wholeheartedly in giving back. "We started with the goal of diverting
books from landfills back in 2003. Millions of books were diverted from the
trash, but we were amazed to see how much good could come from this business.
From the beginning, we resold, donated, and recycled millions and millions of
books. Our tagline is Let the Stories Live On, and the magic happens when a
gently used book is placed in the hands of a reader," stated Tyler Hincy,
VP of Sales and Marketing at Discover Books. Hincy recalls the joy of seeing a
child receive a book and ask, "Is it mine to keep forever."
"We love partnering with organizations focused on
the positive effects of books in a person's life," said Hincy. What
started as a simple Boy Scout project to provide 200 books to The Educational
Foundation of BCPS merged into 4000 books made available to children throughout
the community. This is just a small example of what happens when businesses,
communities, and youth groups come together to make life a little better. The
Education Foundation of BCPS will distribute the books for students'
pleasure and relaxation, to improve literacy, increase self-care, and build
home and classroom libraries throughout the district. It is a bonus that the
reuse of the books is good for the environment as well.
Troop 109B collected 6078 books total. This was their
first year doing this event and they felt successful. They are already planning
ways to expand it next year. Good work boys!
Book distribution will take place at the foundation’s
two collaborative educator’s resource centers, the Exchangeree: Gizmos and Gadget Galore in partnership with
Merritt Companies (Windsor Mill) and the Exchangeree: Gizmos and Gadget Galore in partnership with
Federal Realty at THE AVENUE at White Marsh.