Collect and distribute new and used books to kids in struggling areas, promoting literacy and helping the environment by promoting reuse.

Photo of Chase Hartman
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Additional categories (optional)

  • Environment

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We started "read.repeat." after learning that only 1 out of every 300 kids who live in struggling areas actually own their own books, and kids who own books do better in school, so the challenge is that we need to get more books into the hands of kids! Studies show kids who are proficient in reading by 3rd grade have a higher graduation rate and are less likely to succumb to drugs or teen pregnancy. Reading sets you up for success!

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Since starting “read.repeat” with my friend 3 years ago, we've volunteered over 1000 hours, collected 110,000 books and distributed them to 200 locations in 50 states, and helped raise $33,000 to support literacy in the Tampa area. We teamed up with Hillsborough County Public Schools and delivered 60,000 books to 65 schools, helping 25,000 kids with the resources they need to build a strong educational foundation. After visiting many schools with a majority of minorities, I wrote a grant request and fund-raised to purchase books-with-diversity and distribute hundreds of them to Title 1 Schools so kids could relate to the books. My most rewarding experience was meeting the teachers at Sheehy Elementary School. In 2017, Sheehy’s classrooms lost most of their contents in a flood. We heard the teachers needed books, so the day before school started we delivered more than 2000. We set up rows of tables and it was so exciting to watch the teachers comment on our delivery. One teacher was so overjoyed when she said how many times she had used her own money to buy books and supplies and how thankful she was for our efforts. We need more books and funding to reach more kids!

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I started volunteering in first grade as a Cub Scout and in National Elementary Honor Society. Although the projects were small, I realized kids can still make a difference. The one that had the most impact on me was a book drive NEHS ran for Metropolitan Ministries. I learned some kids in our county didn’t own books and I wanted to do more! I found a book company willing to give away used books and so we started “read.repeat”, launched several book collections in my clubs, sports teams and martial arts studio. At first is was surprising how many books we were collecting and how quickly we outgrew the garage. Now, I’ve met thousands of kids who might not otherwise own books. They get so excited to sift through the piles and find the perfect one! I also know I'm helping the environment! By promoting reuse we estimate we saved 3200 trees- that's a forest!

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

My partner, Vance, was inspired by his little brother who was struggling to read in the 3rd grade. Vance knew kids do better in school when they own books but we've met hundreds of kids who don't. We applied for funding to purchase new books for the Hillsborough County Summer Reading Camp for 3rd graders. You see, kids who are good at reading by 3rd grade have a higher rate of graduation and are less likely to succumb to drugs and alcohol. We were awarded $25,000 to purchase 25,000 books for all the Summer Reading Campers. We set up distributions at 30 locations and 5000 kids picked out books of their own. Test scores went up for the campers and we know they loved the books! We typically collect used books from friends, clubs, scout troops and libraries but in this case we wanted to purchase new high-interest books so the kids would really enjoy the content.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

We started out thinking it was important to just get books in the hands of kids in need. But over the past 3 years we've visited dozens of school and met thousands of kids. Our main mission hasn't changed but we have shifted some focus. When funding is available we know we must purchase high-interest books-with-diversity so kids can see themselves in the characters. I've also begun realizing a need for dual language books. I met a girl at our last delivery who spoke little English. I handed her a booked called "Sophia Martinez" with Spanish words and she lit up! Literacy is confidence!

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Our first book delivery, three years ago, was impactful. We were 5th graders hoping to help other elementary school kids. We met a little girl who was so excited to get a book to own she held it close to her chest and said "I will love it, read it and keep it forever." We haven't forgotten her. Since that delivery we've now donated 110,000 books in all 50 states. We helped a school devastated by a flood and another destroyed by a fire. We've stocked classroom libraries and impacted over 25,000 kids in our county. When used books wouldn't be enough we applied for grants, awards and raised funds to purchase new books. We are now just 8th graders but we have a strong relationship with our Public School Administration and we are known throughout the county as the #boyswithbooks. Teachers and Media Specialists know they can contact us and get what they need for their kids.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We have a strong partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools. We are hoping to expand our desire to place more dual-language books in several schools in our county which have a 75% or higher population of Hispanic kids. 35% of our county schools are Hispanic. 21% of the families with kids in our county speak Spanish as their first language. If we expect kids to be proficient in reading by 3rd grade in order to have a more successful future, we need to give them more tools to succeed. We are also constantly working on ways to continue to supply schools with a diverse demographic with more books-with-diversity. We began exploring this need at the beginning of the year and we know we must continue this.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Marketing Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Sales
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k
  • Donations between $1k-$5k
  • Donations over $10k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 42.9%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 42.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 57.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 28.6%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 42.9%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 57.1%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 57.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 42.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Stormy Barajas

Chase, I enjoyed looking at everything you are aspiring to do and have done with read.repeat
your solution to the problem is very creative and has produced significant results! your commitment to not only help within your community but across the US speaks volumes, Thank you for taking on this project and owning it.

Photo of Chase Hartman


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