At RecognizeGood, it has and always will be our mission to share the GOOD in our community. In a time where our news feeds are refreshed more frequently than ever, we wanted to dig deeper and share the stories of our friends that are still out there on the front lines – the nonprofit staff and volunteers who don’t get weekends or holidays off, who cannot work from home and who still fearlessly take care of others.
BookSpring works to build early literacy, handing out books to kids who live in poverty all across Central Texas. With schools closing, BookSpring’s mission has become more important than ever. We wanted to check in and see how they were working to help kids continue their stream of learning and access to reading materials so we spoke with Executive Director Emily Cicchini recently.
Currently, BookSpring has a stream of nearly 50,000 kids that each receive three books a year. Their giving model for distributing books has always been an active face-to-face experience, something they can clearly no longer do – BookSpring sees these distributions as a social activity that enhances a child’s overall communication skills from talking and listening to reading and writing.
“We really needed to find a way to fulfill our commitments to thousands of kids who were expecting books before the end of the school year,” Emily told us. “We’re addressing this by pivoting to home delivery boxes.”
BookSpring has gone 100% virtual, with all employees working from home and the recent launch of ‘BookSpring Delivered.’ This program allows the organization to get books safely into the hands of the kids they serve, with a pledge that those who receive the books will read together as a family twice a day. They also have a list of recommendations to direct those they serve to free online books, as well as content in Spanish for ELL or bilingual families.
“The process has been creative and improvisational,” Emily says. “We propose ideas, debate, test, fail, revise, clarify, and try again. The staff has been totally amazing, to have come so far so fast with a viable plan!”
BookSpring’s board has worked hard to keep the whole staff feeling secure. Changes in grant restrictions made by the St. David’s Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin have allowed BookSpring to continue serving during this pandemic. You can help them continue their mission by following them on Facebook, Twitter, or donate in whatever capacity you can online so they may reach more kids in need.
For more GOOD reads, check out our other For Goodness’ Sake interviews on our blog!