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Helping Your Fellow Students Book By Book

by L.A. Parent Calendar Editor, Michael Berick

juliabookdonationThis column was inspired by my daughter, but it could be about any child or adult. Back in the spring, Julia heard that an organization called the Help The School Foundation was collecting books for Ventura County schools that were severely lacking in library books. She set up a book collection box in her classroom and talked to her school librarian into donating the leftover books from the school’s annual used book sale. She also asked for books to donate instead of birthday presents. At the end of June, we drove up to Oxnard to deliver around 1,200 books and several boxes of school supplies that she collected.

We handed it all over to Help A School’s founder Shirley Jones Snyder. Snyder started collecting items just about a year after learning how shorthanded local schools are. Besides books, Snyder is eager to get other school supplies, from glue sticks to games. While the school’s enthusiasm for these donations was something she expected, Snyder shared that “the true kindness of the givers always takes me by surprise. I have met some extraordinary people who gave what they have. If it takes a village – then I am truly proud to be part of this particular village.”

Help A School is so new that it has not yet gotten 501c3 nonprofit status, but Snyder is working on that (and she is open to mentorship on this process). You also don’t have to venture all the way to Ventura County to clear out your own bookshelves and help those lacking in books. A number of Los Angeles-based organizations like Milk + Bookies, BookEnds and Operation School Bell offer these services and more.

Shirley Jones Snyder can be reached at californiawonder@gmail.com or at theartfulorganizers.com, and you can get more information on the other organizations at www.bookends.org, www.milkandbookies.org, and www.operationschoolbell.org

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