It is back to school season! Some kids are excited for school while others are already counting the days until the next summer vacation. One difference between those types of kids may be reading. Studies have shown that reading forms the foundation of all learning and that children who read often (or are frequently read to) have higher self esteem, better relationships with parents, and a more positive attitude towards school. Not all children have the same access to books which makes it difficult for them to get exposure to reading.
Several years ago a young girl named Maria saw that not all kids enjoyed reading as much as she did. “I love to read and one day I asked my mom why some kids don’t like to read as much as I do,” she said. “My mom explained that some kids simply don’t have access to books. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, who can’t have access to books? Then she explained how some kids in need have never owned a book. I wanted to change that.”
Maria, who is now 10 years-old, wanted to find a way to make the world a better place and made a lofty goal of collecting and distributing one million books by the time she turned 18 years old. When asked how the organization began, Maria says, “I did a small book drive through my school and church and collected about 1,000 books. Then I waited a few weeks and thought a lot about it and decided it was fun to have a book drive. But this time I wanted to have a goal of 1 million books. I knew that would take a really long time to collect it, so I set a goal of by the time I was 18.”
With the help of her mother, Maria founded the Read Indeed Organization. As of fall 2010, the organization has collected and distributed nearly 400,000 books. Over 90 organizations around the world have received books from Read Indeed. According to Maria, “It is amazing for me to be able to get books into the hands of the kids who need them the most. It is so rewarding. I love it.”
Recently the organization expanded from an operation out of the family’s garage into a warehouse in Hopkins. The warehouse currently houses about 70,000 books which are being sorted by age level.
Read Indeed does have opportunities to help:
- Volunteers are needed to help sort, count, and package books in the warehouse. Kids age eight and over are welcome to help.
- Individuals and groups can collect kid’s books by holding a book drive.
- The organization also accepts monetary donations on their website to help fund their warehouse space and shipping costs. Donations are tax deductible since Read Indeed is a 501c3 organization.
- Individuals can also sign up to receive e-mail updates on the organization’s website.