For over eight years now, I have been a classroom volunteer at Up On Top (upontop.org), an after school program and summer program for low income children in San Francisco. One of my favorite parts of being in the classroom is helping the children choose from books that were obtained through a First Book grant. Many times it is through our program that children experience going to the library. So while they understand they can take the books from First Book home, they are surprised when I explain that they are theirs to keep and they don’t need to bring them back.
Youssef, a second grader, spent quite some time looking through many books before finding the ones that were “just right” for him. He asked me if these books were from me. I said no, and showed him the bookplate that said “First Book.” I explained that several years ago, people got together and wanted to make sure that every child in the country had their own books in their homes. I said that I was just one of many people who donated money so that he could pick out books.
When I got to the classroom the next week, I sat down to help Youssef with his homework. We looked through the math, spelling and reading assignments, and he decided which he would tackle first. Then, he turned to me and asked, “And then would you tell me that story again about the people that buy books for us, but don’t even know us?”
Warm regards, Luanne Schulte