Student volunteer profiles her summer book drive project

Thank you to Victoria Chien, Girl Scout from Troop 2769 and Hockaday Class of 2022, for creating her Gold Award to lead United to Learn’s Summer 2020 book drive.

Below are some of her reflections: 

“During the pandemic, United to Learn constructed a new goal: a book drive to combat the “Summer Slide,” an analogy used to describe the tendency for children to lose their reading skills over the summer, unable to practice literacy skills as often as during the school year.

The book drive would help less fortunate children to make their own libraries at home and encourage them to read over the break, and I was lucky to be able to craft my Girl Scout Gold Award to help with the project.

While working on the current book drive at hand, my primary objective was to fabricate an outline for future book drives with steps that would make it easier for the next leaders of these projects. In order to accomplish this, I assumed the role of collecting the books and redistributing them throughout Dallas. This helped me learn the best routes to the multiple book drop-offs, including several Dallas ISD elementary schools, Project Transformation, and Christ’s Foundry.

Distributing books to organizations that work with specific age ranges of kids also helped me establish a guide on how to best organize the thousands of books by grade level. Thanks to United to Learn and their many donors, the book drive amounted to a total of over 11,000 books. The majority of the books went straight to the kids, either through camps that were open for children to practice their reading skills or distributed at food drives that catered to kids.

The US Census Bureau has found disturbing evidence that not only explains the concerns and effects of less frequent reading to children, but also the inequality experienced by kids from low-income and those from higher-income families. Their evidence points to a correlation between the number of books within the child’s home and their reading scores.

Moreover, as explained by United to Learn program manager, Mia Muric, “children reading on grade level are three times more likely to go to college; therefore, Victoria’s Gold Award project, helping United to Learn get books to students for the COVID summer, has been critical to the future of our Dallas ISD students.”

In conclusion, helping to collect these books has made me much more aware of the direct effect that a community can have on a child’s education. It also makes me so grateful to have had the chance to work with an organization which works to close the opportunity gap and support elementary education.”

Victoria’s sources: