2016 marked several milestones for the Global read Aloud; we had more than 1,000,000 students participate and we created The Global Read Aloud Gives Back as a way for students to do service learning. The very first non-profit we chose to give back to was Palms & Souls, a micro non-profit that focuses on sustaining a communicty center in Jocotenango called the El Buen Samaritano Community Center. One of the major needs was for books for the sixtythree kids that regularly use the community center and we thought this was a perfect mission for the Global Read Aloud community.
Throughout our six weeks, students raised money for the book drive and in order for a small library to be built at the community center. I am now so happy to reveal how it went as Reidun and Ryan Bures just returned from their trip. So how did we do?
As Reidun wrote in her newsletter:
“On March 31, students entered the El Buen Samaritano library for the first time. Initially, they went towards the chairs in the corner and just looked with wide eyes. But once Ryan said “You can touch them,” the floodgates opened. There was pointing, sharing, touching, and READING. Little hands grasped onto brand-new covers and the smiles were endless. Some students even hugged the books. It looked like they had never seen so many books in one place. Honestly, I’m not sure if many of them had ever seen a new book before. This brought tears to my eyes, not only because I knew these stories were going to be educationally and emotionally empowering to these students, but I also knew that each of these books contained such a tangible expression of your long-distance love. These books were sent from schools all across the world, from our family, friends, and strangers. They were sent with notes from the University of Wisconsin medical students, and from friends in Florida and Georgia. Words can’t describe the power of that moment. We have been motivated by believing in the potential of these 958 books to truly impact our 63 kids, and it is so gratifying to see it come to fruition. So we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Your gift has provided these kids with an invaluable tool for enhancing their academic achievement while opening their minds to the innumerable joys of literature. “
And what does this look like? Here are a few images from their trip, see if you can spot your favorite books.
Thank you to each and everyone one of you for making a difference in the lives of these 63 children.