Mary-Grace R. Reeves
Title: Creator and Coordinator
Project: American Girl Book Club
Hometown: Pensacola, FL
Three years ago, I created a historical literacy program called the American Girl Book Club, through which I help girls with their reading skills, teach them about our country’s past, and mobilize them as teams of youth to serve the community. So far, I have worked with over 900 girls from across the Gulf Coast Region.
Special training or skills needed:
I have always enjoyed reading, and founding the American Girl Book Club has allowed me to share my passion for literacy and education with another generation.
How to find assistance and funding:
As my community recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Ivan, the library manager told me they sadly could not provide any funding or provide employees to assist me in my American Girl Book Club. I overcame this lack of funding and assistance through dedication to my cause, earning support from multiple organizations throughout the community and country, to fund my vision.
For more on how to find funding,
check out Jonny Cohen’s
Face-to-face Book page.
Helpful people and orgs:
The American Girl Company: Especially original author Valerie Tripp, has been extremely helpful as I use their books as the basis of each program meeting.
The National Education Association and Youth Service America: have provided multiple grants to fund program supplies and copies of the “book of the month” for each girl to read before each meeting.
Target and McDonald’s have also provided sponsorship, as has a local nonprofit called the Friends of the Southwest Branch Library. The Kiwanis Club, a local female attorney, restaurants, and even a landscaping company have generously donated funding and supplies. I invite representatives from different organizations to be guest speakers at each meeting, including the Daughters of the American Revolution and the University of Florida. News media has also been supportive in advertizing the impact of the American Girl Book Club.
How to reach out to other orgs:
I took initiative and approached these organizations for support. I shared with them my plan for how they would be able to help the American Girl Book Club, and explained how the program would assist girls in developing leadership abilities that would serve them for life. All of the adults I approached were immediately enthusiastic about providing support.
American Girl books, craft supplies
Word to the wise:
Find your special talent or interest and find a way in which you can use it to benefit others.
I guest blogged for The White House's "For the Win"
How to jump on the movement:
Check out this article about me on the West Florida Public library site.
It discusses my inspiration and how I founded my project.
With the ability to read well, one has the power to do anything. Start small. Just read with a younger brother, sister, cousin, or friend. That person will appreciate the interest you have in their reading skills, and you will be making a huge impact on just that one person’s life.