I became a Books in Homes Ambassador in 2008 (or was it 2009?). When you get to my age your years all roll into one and you start telling yourself that 50 isn’t that old!
Anyway, I was excited to be asked to be part of another project (I am also an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador) that not only promotes books and reading to young Australians, but also raises funds to ensure our most disadvantaged in society get access to books.
The Charitable Foundation for Books in Homes Australia is a registered not-for-profit organisation that helps underprivileged children improve their literacy skills and develop and maintain a love for reading. Since 2001, Books in Homes has distributed in excess of 1,000,000 new books to more than 110,000 needy children from 290 schools and communities around Australia.
My job as an Ambassador is to visit schools, talk about why I love books and reading, and why both are important. I also get to be part of book presentation ceremonies and see the joy on the faces of the recipients. Actually, I think some of the kids believe the books are from me personally, when in fact they are funded by local business, major companies and community organisations.
I have been part of book giving presentations at Solider Settlement Public School in my home suburb of Matraville and nearby at La Perouse Public School. The pic above is from last year’s Term 4 presentation at LPPS. In 2009 I visited Papunya School (pic below of students with their books) and later that year headed out to Wiley Park Public School in Western Sydney and was treated to an extraordinary musical performance.
This year I want to Emerton Public School and spoke at the book giving assembly, watched and listened to the students sing My Island Home and witnessed some of the best-behaved kids ever! This is no exaggeration. Below are students Charlie and Jane enjoying their new books.
And here are just some of the reasons I’m grateful for BIH:
1. EDUCATION: Through a “whole community/school literacy” approach, Books in Homes connects children, families, community centres, and schools to the literacy process.
2. YOUNG PEOPLE: Families with children aged 0-3 and students in Primary school years benefit from the Programme.
3. INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES: Books in Homes works with children from Indigenous backgrounds. The Programme ensures that 25% of its books are written by Indigenous authors.
4. NATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS: In partnering with low socio-economic status schools (SES), the Books in Homes Programme has helped increase reading skills which is a key criteria of National Partnerships.
5. CHOICE: Research has proven that developing readers are better engaged when they choose books that interest them. Books in Homes provides that choice.
6. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Aside from the organisational sponsors who give generously as part of the program, YOU too can also support the project and get more books into the hands and homes of disadvantaged kids. Click here to find out how you can sponsor a child for as low as $87 or become a role model like me, or even sponsor a community centre or school. Go on, do it, and make someone else grateful for your efforts!
And finally, at the risk of sounding completely selfish, I can't tell you the absolute joy I get from seeing these children so grateful for their books. Many of us take for granted the books we have, the access to resources in our homes and local libraries and the like. Not everyone is that fortunate.
I am truly grateful for the small role I have been gifted in being part of this valuable program.