Running the risk of writing another “puff piece” as I’ve been accused of doing in the past, I had to share this one with folks because I thought the faces on the kids were so great. For those folks who don’t care for my “feel good” blog posts, stop reading now.
Last week, eBay Foundation and First Book, a nonprofit providing new books to children in need, held reading parties in elementary schools in Austin, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; and Venice, California, to celebrate the distribution of more than 300,000 Random House Children’s Books nationwide. eBay Foundation GIVE Teams, made up of employees in eBay’s offices in Austion, Omaha and LA joined local children to read with them and present them with their new books. Each school received 500 new books, made possible as part of a grant of more than $300,000 from eBay Foundation.
“We’re proud to partner with First Book to help children discover the joy of reading,” said Bill Barmeier, chairman of eBay Foundation and VP of Global Citizenship at eBay Inc. “This continues eBay Foundation’s long-standing tradition of connecting eBay employees with terrific causes in their local communities. We’re grateful to the eBay employees who have made this possible through their time and dedication.”
Broadway Elementary School
About 15 employees from the Rent.com office in Santa Monica participated and it was held with the school’s first grade classes.
“I didn’t know that eBay does this reading event in so many places. It is really heart warming to know that in today’s economy, some corporations are still giving to our future,” said Susan Wang, Principal, Broadway Elementary School; Venice, CA. “Everyone in our school district is worried about the budget crisis and all the cuts, but this kind of gesture make me feel that there is hope. And it helps us to remind each other that, while we have to make the best of this budget crisis, we need to continue to focus on our students.”
Martin L. King Elementary School
More than 30 employees from the PayPal Omaha office participated in the event at Martin L. King Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska. There were additional community officials in attendance including: John McKiel, Omaha Public School System Superintendent; Doug Kindig, Mayor of La Vista; Preston Love Jr., Board of Directors for Literacy Center of the Midlands; and Tim Clark, Board Member and President of 100 Black Men of Omaha. The event was held with the second grade classes of the school.
Rodriguez Elementary School
About 10 employees from the PayPal Austin office participated, and the event was planned in conjunction with First Book’s partner in Austin, Operation Blue Santa, which is a program of the Austin Police Department.
“The giving of a book can change the attitude of a child,” said Police Officer Bonnie Caudill with Operation Blue Santa. “At one of my readings, I encountered a 3rd grader that was trying to be cool and tough in front of his friends. He tried to make a joke about cops and donuts. I let him say it and then we moved on to the reading. After the reading, I gave each child a book and told them to write their name on the book. The boy mentioned before got a surprised look on his face and kept asking Really? It is mine to keep? I get to take it home? I told him yes and he turned into the child he was meant to be not someone trying to act older and tougher than his 7 or 8 years. The simple gift of a book has a great impact on a child. Some people take books for granted others see them for the precious gift they are.”
All in all, it sounds like they were great events and really cool for the kids involved. The First Book blog, Bookmark, also wrote about the events here.