I recently had the privilege of being part of World Vision’s grand opening of their warehouse space in the Washington, DC area. Representatives and Senators were present, along with school board members, teachers, community organizers and individuals interested in the organization. As World Vision employees led groups around the storage site, explaining their many domestic and international programs, a few First Book staff spoke with those eager to get books into children’s hands. Many were learning about First Book for the first time and as my colleague Tabitha and I talked to one group; another would form right behind them, waiting to hear how they too could register and start receiving books!
One woman explained that as a little girl, books where her way of getting out of her neighborhood and exploring the rest of the world. Another spoke of how her great-grand daughter is only three years old but is already craving books and stories. Hearing these personal stories and watching faces brighten as people learned about First Book made me realize the true purpose of First Book. From talking on the phone with a school secretary, to e-mailing a coordinator, to handing a little boy a book and watching him run over to his mom asking her to read it to him, I am struck by the power of books in the lives of children who need them.
These experiences truly define the importance of First Book’s mission for me. We work for children, we fight illiteracy, and we spread the wonders of literature. What a day it was, celebrating World Vision and spreading the word about First Book, it reinforced my belief in the good will of people.