We receive book requests from kids in low-income communities and match them with donors.
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Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Over half a million tons of books are deposited in landfills. This shows how there is more than enough literature for every child but there is clearly a disconnect from students who want these books, and those who wish to discard them. DonatEducate relocates books that would be heading to landfills and gives them to children living in poverty. We provide the next generation of leaders, inventors, and entrepreneurs with the basic tools to succeed.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
DonatEducate is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization run by youth. We began by receiving donations of books and other learning materials from our community and donating them towards underfunded Washington elementary schools. DonatEducate is the only organization that receives book requests submitted by children, and caters towards their wants. We give kids the opportunity to submit book requests that are later posted onto our "Book Request List" so that they can be matched with a donor who has that book. This not only decreases the number of books that go into landfills, it also allows more books to be donated. By allowing kids to have a say in what they read, DonatEducate improves literacy skills, encourages children to find books they like, and promotes recreational reading. We work to reduce the negative stigma towards reading and foster literacy skills starting at a young age. This leads to improved test scores, lower drop out rates, and a lifelong love of reading.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
I participated in an organization that taught children how to play an instrument. I was assigned to a girl who loved to dance when we were practicing and called the composers “round ladies.” She told me tales of how her mother worked long nights and how her father had thrown her viola out the window. That day, I found a popped D string and a thin crack at the base of her bow. I couldn't protect her from the world when she stopped playing, so I encouraged her passion for music by having her choose what she played so that she would find a haven in her playing. She showed me that children become passionate when they are given a choice in what they learn, practice, and read. I use this mindset to tutor kids at the library, and I see huge improvement in each one every day. Although not every child will enjoy reading, it is a human right to have the opportunity to learn that for oneself.
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.
Alex is a fifth-grader who lives in a community where books are a rarity. He began a book series over the summer, but found out that his local library did not have the sequel. He can’t find the book in his community and is unable to purchase the book online, so he goes onto donateducated.org and submits a book request. His request is then submitted onto the Request List page along with a few sentences explaining why he wants that book. After waiting for some time, Alex receives an email saying he was matched with a donor and that the book he chose is on the way. DonatEducate then mails the book to Alex’s school at no cost to Alex. DonatEducate volunteers then mail the book to Alex's school to keep Alex's personal information protected, and so that he has a safe area to pick up the book. Thus we give children a safe, easy way to gain access to the books they like to read.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Many programs relocate books to schools and libraries similar to DonatEducate; however, we involve children by having them submit book requests online and allow them to keep the book instead of borrowing it for an allotted time. Similar to how people have different preferences and hobbies, children also vary in what books they enjoy or if they even enjoy books, and we firmly believe that every child deserves the opportunity to read books they are interested in. We work to give books requested by the children themselves, whether it be comic or non-fiction, because reading should be fun!
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
In less than one year, DonatEducate has opened two chapters at Washington high schools, garnered over 100 books and $3,000 in donations, partnered with an underfunded Washington elementary school (with 500+ students), and has received confirmation from 3 Washington elementary schools that they would be interested in learning more about implementing our project into their school system. DonatEducate is partners with Mann Elementary, a Washington elementary school that falls below Washington state testing standards. Their goal for the ELA (a Washington state reading test) was a 59% passing rate for the third graders and a 65% for the fifth graders. After one year of partnering with DonatEducate, they received an average pass rate of 66% for the third graders, and 78% for the fifth graders.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Currently in the process, donors are limited in the way that they can see their impact. Kind donations are welcome, however, we imagine a way where donors are able to see the change they have created through donating books. I volunteer at a blood donation center, where donors receive an email about how many people they have saved through donating, and occasionally the blood recipients write a personal “thank you” email to the blood donor. DonatEducate would like to do something similar to this. It would allow the beneficiary to give thanks to the donor, give donors insight towards how their donation influenced a child’s life for the better, and encourage donors to keep donating and children to keep reading.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Donations between $1k-$5k
How did you hear about this challenge?
Recommended by others
Word of mouth