The San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel has launched Books Build Character, whose goal is to provide all 54,000 SAISD students with brand-new books of their very own.
Book distribution began April 10 with all 2nd-and 7th-graders – more than 8,000 students – receiving, over the course of the week, a book to either start or add to their home libraries. The 2nd-graders received a copy of “Freckle Juice” by Judy Blume, and 7th-graders received their own hardcover copy of “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio.
The San Antonio Alliance raised $28,000 ($25,000 of that from the National Teachers Associates) for the premiere of what is intended to be a bountiful number of future giveaways. Purchasing the 8,025 books for that price was made possible through First Book, an international non-profit organization that works with top publishers to offer deeply discounted prices so that children in need have access to a supply of high-quality books.
For some children, this may be the very first brand-new book they have ever owned. Research shows that in America’s poorest neighborhoods the average number of books in the home is only one for every 300 children. Surveys reveal that cost is the No. 1 limiting factor.
While the goal of Books Build Character to provide all 54,000 SAISD students with a new book of their own may seem cost prohibitive, First Book discounts make it an attainable goal. For instance, $89,000, compared to the retail price of $405,000, would cover the cost of one book for each SAISD student.
To date, First Book has provided more than 100 million books to children in need, increasing access to essential materials for educators and administrators.
SAISD and the San Antonio Alliance welcome community support for Books Build Character, and a variety of levels of giving is available. For example, five new books can be purchased through a contribution of as little as $10, while a $13,000 donation would provide one book for all of SAISD’s 4,423 1st-graders.
For more information on how you can help this worthy cause, contact Shelley Potter, president of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, at (210) 225-7174.