The past year has proven difficult for youth, and many are looking for positive ways to be part of their communities again as things are opening up. The young men from Boy Scout Troop 109B from Lansdowne, Arbutus, and Catonsville were looking for such an opportunity.
When the troop began looking for a spring community service project and an opportunity to volunteer, they discovered The Education Foundation of BCPS Books for Bins campaign serving the 111,000 students and nearly 10,000 educators within the district. The troop contacted the foundation, and a plan was formulated to collect books.
Utilizing social media platforms to encourage neighbors, friends, relatives, and community businesses to participate in their endeavor, they also encountered Discover Books in Halethorpe, Maryland. Ms. Ava Jordan, Discover Books’ Market Manager, was contacted by the scout troop Committee Chair, Ms. Nancy May, with the hopes to secure 200 children’s books to donate to the book campaign adding to the book donations they had collected to date.
Discover Books was thrilled to help, but Jordan saw an opportunity to provide even more. Jordan had this to say about the opportunity, “I attended Baltimore Public Schools. I participated in public school field trips and summer reading programs. I’m a firm believer of giving back. What was provided to me I want to ensure other children have the same opportunities in my hometown. This starts with literacy. A priceless gift.”
Working collaboratively with the scout leaders, Ms. Jordan contacted the foundation. A plan was developed to deliver 4,000 children’s books directly to BCPS Logistics for the foundation’s Books for Bins campaign. Upon arrival, school and community volunteers sanitized, sorted, and packed them for delivery to the Exchangeree’s by volunteers from the BCPS Office of College and Career Readiness, Douron: Office and Educational Furniture, First Financial Federal Credit Union, Freedom Federal Credit Union, the Exchangeree volunteers, and the headquarters staff. “We love partnering with organizations focused on the positive effects of books in a person’s life,” said Tyler Hincy, VP of Sales and Marketing at Discover Books. What started as a simple scout project to provide 200 books to the foundation merged into 4,000 books made available to BCPS students and children throughout the community.
But there is more to this project – the scouts collected an additional 2,067 books from their communities, totaling a donation of 6,027 books for distribution by the foundation.
On the evening of May 13, the young men and their leaders arrived at the Exchangeree: Gizmos and Gadgets Galore, Windsor Mill, to complete their project. When the additional 2,067 collected books were unloaded by the troop that evening the process of sanitizing and sorting the books began again as the additional books were organized by age-appropriate levels for distribution to BCPS educators for their students in the upcoming weeks.
The Education Foundation of BCPS will distribute all of the thousands of books collected and donated to BCPS educators for their students’ pleasure, relaxation and summer reading, to improve literacy, increase self-care, and to build home and classroom libraries throughout the district.
For Troop 109B the collection campaign was filled with laughter, excitement, and camaraderie. However, it was an evening that built self-confidence, citizenship, and character as the troop worked independently and as teams to accomplish the task at hand.
This is just a small example of what happens when businesses, communities, and youth groups come together to make life a little better. It is a bonus that the reuse of the books is good for the environment 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 Mr. Hincy, who recalls the joy of seeing a child receive a book and ask, “Is it mine to keep forever.”
So, what do you get when you combine a local Boy Scout Troop, with a local business who has a commitment to giving back to the community, and an education foundation?
An opportunity to form a partnership and put books into the hands of kids who need them, that’s what. Not to mention a whole lot of smiles!
~ Portions of this Article Contributed by Ava Jordan | Baltimore Market Manager | Discover Books
Special Note: The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools would like to give a huge shout out to the following for their participation in Books for Bins.
Boy Scout Troop 109B including students from: Western School of Technology, Lansdowne Middle School and High School, Granite Baptist, Sudbrook Middle School, Arbutus Middle School, Our Lady Of Victory and one home schooled troop member.
Boy Scout Troop 109B Leadership include: Committee Chair – Nancy May | Humanitarian Chair – Corinne Louden | Treasurer – Andrea Lawrence | Assistant Scout Masters – Bob May and
Jason Herzog | Advancement Chair for Troop 109-John Payne