Access to Books for Under-Resourced Kids

A Peacemaking Project by Riley G.

What is the injustice we are solving?

About 2 miles from my home is the Ravenswood School District where 44% of the children are homeless, 65% are English language learners and 87% are considered low income. As a result of these challenges, performance in this district significantly lags neighboring districts. These are children with hopes and dreams who need an education to fulfill their potential. One of their biggest obstacles is below grade-level literacy rates. I would love to give these kids more access to books in order to improve literacy rates and encourage reading. Studies show that kids who own their own books stay in school longer and have a greater love for learning.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of Inequity in Education
we will address Literacy rates
by Getting more books in the hands of under-resourced youth

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • I would like to set up a "little library" in front of several of the schools where kids can take free books. This will be especially important during summer months when the kids do not have access to school libraries.
  • I will get book donations to fill the "little library"

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Working to create equity in educational resources.

How will you show courage?

I will show courage by building a "little library". I have never built anything like this before so it will definitely be something that will challenge me.

How will you collaborate with others?

I will collaborate with others in several ways: - I will contact the school or schools to see if we can place a little library in front of their gates - I will reach out to neighbors and friends to collect - I may ask friends to help me build and decorate the little library

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

I will check the library monthly to see if kids are taking the books and I will also refill the books. I will also check with the school(s) to gather feedback and make sure the program is a success.

Key Steps

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

After going through the steps to create the mini-libraries, we realized how important it was to create a resource for children to have access to books. We understood the injustice more deeply through our project because it made us realize how much children are lacking access to literary sources.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

Our community changed because children were able to gain access to books as a result of my project. They could use the free libraries during the summer or on the weekends when their schools were closed and it was not safe to go to a local library.

How many people were impacted by your project?

400

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

The free libraries are available to all children - anyone can use books from the library. So, I estimated that about 400 people benefitted from these libraries based on the location of the little libraries and how long they have been around.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

We learned more about the people affected by the injustice because we realized that these people are not given the basic right of having access to free books. It is important for these children to have this resource because without books, children are less motivated to go to school, and they enjoy school less, leading to a high dropout rate and affecting their future.

What did your team learn?

I learned the importance of having books, and how easy it is to make a change in our community. Such a large impact can be made if everyone takes the time to help those around them.

What challenges did your team overcome?

One challenge was finding places for our little libraries. I overcame this by continuing to reach out to local schools and areas to find a location to place our product.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

I have involved local schools in the placement of the little libraries, so that many schools can have their own free library. Also, I have used my community's resources to collect books from them, and they too feel like they are involved and making a difference.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

My advice would be to have confidence in yourself, because if you have a project and you put your mind into finishing it, you will be successful and create a huge impact.

Our Updates:

Beginning little libraries

Riley G. 23 March 2018 16:13 I have purchased the materials to transform an old newspaper box into a free library. I am almost done cleaning and painting the box, and I have enough books for the libraries as well. I am hoping to get the library to a local school in an under resourced area soon. 

Comments:

Adrian B.
8 June 2018 13:42

Hi Riley!

We're checking in because you haven't submitted your reflection yet. Reflections were due on May 31 as a part of your mini-grant award. Please submit your reflection as soon as you can. We're looking forward to hearing about how your project went!  

Kelsey T.
5 February 2018 13:22

Our pleasure, Riley! We look forward to hearing about how your project evolves!  

Riley G.
3 February 2018 20:48

Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you.  

Kelsey T.
2 February 2018 14:32

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below

Strengths:
I love this project idea! You've done a wonderful job of explaining the link between access to books, literacy, and inequity in education and this is such a creative way of addressing the problem.

Things to Consider:
One thing to consider is how you will help spread the word and encourage kids to utilize this resource-- think about how you can collaborate with the schools on this. Also, what are some ways that you could involve the kids in the project implementation -- maybe through a kick off event or getting their help to decorate the library?

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!
 

Fish S.
22 January 2018 11:22

Riley, this is an awesome project. I'm with you -- literacy is so important to education and you can't have literacy without access to books! Love your clear action plan, especially your plans to work with schools to gather feedback, and all the thinking you've done about the impact of literacy on education.

We'd love to support your work! We can offer you a $250 grant to start the library and connect you with a mentor. How else can we help? Are there any questions you have?  

Adrian B.
28 June 2018 17:58

Hi Riley--this reflection feedback is from Avril, a member of the Peace First team. Due to confusion with the new platform, it was posted on the old version of your project--I wanted to be sure you got to see it!

I also wanted to add--there are a few questions you may not have seen on the reflection form. Could you fill out those questions so your reflection is complete? Thanks so much!

Best,
Adrian

Hi Riley!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Congratulations on a great project that has shown that you have deep compassion for other young people in nearby communities who lack access to books! I grew up with my nose always in a book and really appreciated your project giving that opportunity to students who deserve the same opportunities to improve their literacy. You created a bridge between people from your community and schools in the vicinity and really helped raise awareness about the issue. You showed true compassion in building the little libraries at a time when students either could not access the library or it was unsafe to. As you think about growing your project, you might consider trying to deepen your understanding of why young people in Ravenswood School District lack access to the educational resources and support that other schools have -- what is causing this? Understanding why this is happening at some schools could lead to some insights about a permanent solution to the problem that gives equal opportunities to students in all the school districts.

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change! Good luck with the project, and keep up the good work!

Avril