Stuck at home and feeling helpless was something us high school students wanted to change.
For a summer project, we decided to start the West Palm Beach Book Drive. The book drive was started to spread our love for literature to those who needed the extra help during COVID. Literature is important to the both of us as books encourage us to understand other viewpoints, inspire our actions, and help us learn about important topics.
We wanted to help others in our community, so we created a contact-free book drive – a door-to-door service collecting books that we would deliver to the PBC Homeless Coalition and Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County. We designed, printed, and hand-delivered over 130 flyers to mailboxes.
After our first collection, we received 200 donations! Continuing our collections monthly, we want to spread positivity and inspiration to other high school students to make a difference in their community! Little did we know that this collection was just a small step of our journey. We were able to expand from our community to a partnership with the Literacy Coalition of West Palm Beach. We felt the need to assist our classmates who wanted to support their community during COVID but had difficulty due to safety precautions.
Furthermore, we have started monthly donation collections with our school, allowing us to give community service hours to our fellow students through the Literacy Coalition of PBC. Starting in August, we successfully completed our first book drive meetup and continued to have meet-ups once a month until April. In 6 months, we are proud to say we have awarded 500 community service hours to students of American Heritage and donated over 2,000 books!
The literature we collect includes all types of books, including all types of fiction and nonfiction. Specifically, donations to the PBC Homeless Coalition focus on adult literature involved in education that teaches a reader to develop a skill. These books can help people experiencing homeless improve their situations to be better equipped for certain occupations and interviews.
Recently, we connected with the Joy4All Project and Ripple Kindness Project to extend our reach to inspire more teens to help their communities across the globe. Teaming up with our local Court House, we are currently working with Students Speak Up For Kids to help foster children feel more at home by collecting new and gently used board games. We joined the message for Students Speak Up For Kids because we wanted to support fellow kids in our community with the help of donations from classmates.
Volunteering in our community helped us connect with others and we learned the needs of our community during COVID. We learned about the significant increase of homeless populations in our area due to the loss of jobs from COVID. To make a difference, we decided to help the PBC Homeless Coalition. Additionally, we can relate to the feeling of isolation during COVID with staying home and virtual school. We wanted to spread positivity to local children through books using the Literacy Coalition and board games with Students Speak Up For Kids.