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Donated books in need to help the next generation

Board members and volunteers stand next to books that will soon be read by kids in Amarillo who come from a high poverty family (Drew Powell ABC 7 News){p}{/p}
Board members and volunteers stand next to books that will soon be read by kids in Amarillo who come from a high poverty family (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

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In 2016, a non-profit called Storybridge launched with the intent of helping to fill a literacy gap in Amarillo. The program headed up by volunteers started helping students at Mesa Verde Elementary by handing students age appropriate books to read. Nearly a year and a half later, Storybridge has handed out more than 33,000 books to students at 14 different school campuses.

“Having books in your home is the number predictor of academic success for children,” said Chandra Perkins, founder and director of Storybridge. “The research says two out of three low income families don’t have enough books or any books in their home.”

“We give away ten books per child every time we go visit a school,” said Carrie Mashburn, a volunteer. “When we walk into a school and we have 250 kids, do the math. That’s a lot of books that we give away. Were constantly needing to replenish the source.”

The principal at Mesa Verde Elementary tells ABC 7 News since the nonprofit starting handing out books to kids, the students have had more success at school.

“For many of the students this is the situation,” said Charla Cobb, the principal at Mesa Verde Elementary. “I’m a parent and I only have so much income. Am I going to buy food for my family or am I going to buy books? It’s going to be food, so that’s where Storybridge has come in. It has helped fill a need.”

Carrie Mashburn tells ABC 7 News she has helped by donating books and delivering books to kids. She helps families establish what are called “home libraries” for students living in high-poverty or for refugees.

“We take books for kids of all ages whether it be zero to three or four to six or seven to nine and books for older kids,” said Mashburn. “We even take then older kids chapter books. These kids love to read and can use more and more books.”

The next phase for Storybridge is expanding services to Canyon ISD starting in May.

“We’re not serving all the children who need books in their home,” said Perkins. “We’re able to help serve about one third of the kids that need it in Amarillo and Canyon. For us to serve the other two thirds were going to need more book donations.

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The game plan is to establish a donor base and apply for grants plus work on setting up a fundraiser. Board members and volunteers meet the second Saturday of every month to sort through donated books. Currently there are drop-off points in more than 10 locations in Amarillo. If interested in helping with expansion plans email the non-profit at Additional volunteer teams are needed.

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