A book can take you anywhere

A book can take you anywhere

Girl Scout Cadette Callie Sellers has always loved reading and books. In her mind, “a book can take you anywhere.” Since she was a young Scout, Sellers had concerns about homeless and other children in need having the same access to books as she did. She wanted them to experience how happy books and reading made her feel.

For her Girl Scout Silver Award project, Sellers supported her love of reading and compassion for children by working with Family Promise of Jacksonville to create an organized and updated reading library.

Sellers began her project – A Book Can Take You Anywhere…A Library for Family Promise – in late spring by coordinating book donation contests at her former school, John N.C. Stockton Elementary, which resulted in students donating 750-plus books to her project.

As part of the requirements, the Ortega Forest resident created an action plan to meet Family Promise’s needs, and also be a sustainable project that the nonprofit organization could maintain after she finished.

Over the summer, Sellers spent more than 120 hours, often in the sweltering heat, culling through the books stored in her garage. With media specialists as additional advisors, she learned to navigate websites and to assign reading levels to the books. She devised a coding and organization system to enable readers and volunteers to easily identify books appropriate for kindergarten to adult levels.

“The skills I gained were patience, heat endurance, organization and the importance of documentation,” said Sellers. “I also discovered that sometimes I need a little push here and there to get major things done.”

Some of the donated books were duplicates and others were deemed inappropriate for the center, so the freshman at Stanton College Preparatory School negotiated with a local book store to trade in and purchase updated books for middle and high school readers.

Sellers was able to donate a gift bag of 15+ books to each of Family Promise’s 12 host churches at a recognition dinner so that center residents could continue reading at each of their temporary homes.

She will be officially awarded the Silver Award pin and certificate at a ceremony later this year and also recognized at a Girl Scouts of Gateway Council presentation in the spring.

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