Diane loves books and she loves passing on her passion for reading. In 2013, when she attended the Voices Reading Summit and learned that only one in 300 children in low-income households have books, she was stunned.
“We could not fathom that – 1 book for 300 kids!? – after all, our kids had access to books and we read to them every day for 20 minutes, so why wouldn’t all kids have that? Well, that bubble burst then and there,” Diane said.
Diane helped lead the creation of Book it Forward! Idaho in 2013, and, with the help of United Way’s annual statewide Children’s Book Drive, more than 200,000 books have been collected and distributed!
After recently delivering donated books collected by United Way to an elementary school in Nampa, Diane received the following message from the school’s librarian.
The Lincoln Elementary School second graders were adorable when they got their books!! The books were beautiful, and right on for reading level. Each child was beaming when they showed me the book they chose.
One little girl said, clutching her new book:
“Can I keep it?” Me: “Yes, you can!” Little girl: “Forever?”
Me: “Yes, forever and ever.”
Little girl: “This is the best Christmas EVER!!”
Diane is driven by a timeless quote from the late Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
“The need is great and the stakes are high for all of us,” Diane said. “But there is something we can all do. By re-using and recycling books our kids have outgrown, we can all pay it forward and we will ensure that needy children and communities receive books for a happy future of reading and literacy.”