Boxes full of books, old and new, quickly filled in recent weeks at Aspen Creek Middle School.
In just a week, students and staff at the school collected 1,482 books for a drive that ran Feb. 6 through Feb. 12. The books ranged from those geared toward babies and toddlers to novels for high-schoolers and everything in between.
The book drive was an effort coordinated by the ACMS Kindness Club, a club new to the school this year that aims to promote kindess in the school building and in the community through good deeds and selfless acts.
“We wanted to have a book drive to donate books to children in need because reading is such an important part of academic success and a lot of times low income children do not have books available to them at home,” said Shannon Shearer, Kindness Club sponsor and ACMS teacher. “I have found that our Kindness Club at ACMS really loves giving and helping others, especially kids in need.”
The books were donated to A Book of My Own, an effort to collect and distribute new and gently used books to under-served children age 0 to 18 in an effort to promote literacy and help break the cycle of poverty in the Omaha area.
“When deciding where we wanted to donate the books we collected during the drive, we thought A Book of My Own would be a great organization to give to because they offer a place where kids in need can come pick out books and take the books home with them to keep,” Shearer said.
Shearer said that while club members expected a lot of donations, the turnout was more than what they could have imagined. A number of students donated more than 25 books themselves, with one turning in 86 and another donating more than 100.
Kindness Club members like eighth-grader Claire Sallee and sixth-grader Mikela Kralak joined the club as a way to get involved, finding out that they enjoyed working together to help others.
“It’s fun to help those in need,” agreed sixth-grader Michael Himel.
The club piggybacks on the metro area schools’ newly-implemented #BeKind movement, a kindness campaign brought to the Omaha area by Millard Public Schools Superintendent Jim Sutfin, who heard about a similar campaign happening in another state.
“I almost see more kids going out of their way to be kind,” Shearer said. “It has a domino effect and just kind of keeps going.”