What is Project BRANCH?
The Junior League of Portland is proud to announce a special collaboration between our 2016-2017 Provisional Class and the Children’s Book Bank, aimed at improving early childhood literacy. Project BRANCH (Books Reaching Any Child) is designed to generate book donations for our community partner, and drive awareness around the basic education initiatives of reading. Research indicates that, in low income neighborhoods, the ratio of books to children is one book for every 300 children. CBB strives to close the “book gap,” one child at a time. We likewise believe that literary success in school – driven directly by book availability in the home – leads to improved education for all students, higher literacy/graduation rates, and stronger communities.
What is the Junior League of Portland?
Since its founding in 1910, the Junior League of Portland has served the needs of the community while educating and developing volunteer leaders in the Portland area— over one hundred years dedicated to irreplaceable community programs and committed voluntarism.
The Junior League has been the driving force behind the kinds of initiatives and institutions that make our community a healthier, more vital place to live. Junior League members, reﬂecting a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and professional pursuits, work together to identify unmet needs, forge effective coalitions, and work for change. Our current community focus is to end the cycle of violence against women and children.
What is the Children’s Book Bank?
Inspired by her own experiences as a Teach for America teacher and a parent, Children’s Book Bank began when Founder and Executive Director Danielle Swope wanted to ensure that her children’s books got into the hands of kids who might not otherwise have books of their own at home. She contacted a local Head Start program that was happy to receive her family’s books and took her kids on a field trip to deliver them. Within a week her phone was ringing off the hook with people looking for the “Book Lady” and asking to sign up for her “program.” Clearly, the community had a need for books! After a few pilot book drives, it became clear that the community ALSO had a supply of books to give. The missing piece was a sustainable system to get the books off shelves and into the hands and homes of kids in need. The Children’s Book Bank was created to fill that void by engaging the community in collecting, sorting, and distributing donated children’s books.
By engaging the greater community and working with local agencies to give children books to take home and keep, The Children’s Book Bank supports early literacy development with four levels of beneficiaries: children, parents, literacy programs and the community.
Since becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2008, The Children’s Book Bank has organized over 6,500 community volunteers to channel over 475,000 books into the hands and homes of over 35,000 children in need in the Portland area.
Learn more about the Children’s Book Bank: www.childrensbookbank.org
Why collect books?
The Junior League of Portland has renewed our focus on ending domestic violence towards women and children, and we recognize that this goal begins in part with empowering community advocates who support basic education initiatives. The Children’s Book Bank has been a valued partner for many years. Research indicates that, in low income neighborhoods, the ratio of books to children is one book for every 300 children. CBB strives to close the “book gap,” one child at a time. We likewise believe that literary success in school – driven directly by book availability in the home – leads to improved education for all students, higher literacy/graduation rates, and stronger communities.
What’s the goal?
From March 1st – March 24th, the Junior League of Portland’s Provisional Class will run a three-phase program to collect and gift 15,000 books to the Children’s Book Bank.
We also plan to deploy 125 volunteers into the community to man book-collection sites at >20 locations across the Portland-Metro area. A celebratory cleaning event is scheduled on Saturday, March 25th, to help the Children’s Book Bank get these donated books ready to hand to children in need.
How can I get involved?
- Donate new or gently-used children’s books at one of our collection sites throughout the Portland area (or by shopping our Amazon wish list for CBB titles in-need). We’re also happy to coordinate pick-up appointments for large donations!
- Volunteer to host a book-collection station in your office/store.
- Support the Children’s Book Bank by making a gift to their “First Book” matching campaign program, firstbook.fundly.com/project-branch.
How long is the book drive?
Project BRANCH will run from March 1st – March 24th.
Where can I donate books? Can I donate online?
Books can be donated through three main ways:
- Collection Sites – Donate new or gently used children’s books at one of our collection sites. View the collection sites HERE. We’re also happy to coordinate pick-up appointments for large donations!
- Tabling Outreach – Bring your new or gently used children’s book donations to a local bookstore or business. Upcoming tabling events coming soon.
- Online Options
When are the books collected?
Books donated through collection sites will be collected weekly and tabling outreach donations will be collected the night of each event through Friday, March 24th.
What types of books do you need?
The Children’s Book Bank accepts all new and gently-used books for preschool through grade 8 reading levels.
About 75% of the preschoolers served by The Children’s Book Bank each year come from communities of color and/or English language learning homes. Because of this, diverse and multicultural books are especially needed. Please consider supporting Project BRANCH by purchasing a book from our Amazon Wish List as well as donating.
Do you accept used books?
Yes – The Children’s Book Bank accepts gently-used books for preschool through grade 8 reading levels.
When will children receive their books?
The Children’s Book Bank (CBB) is constantly delivering books to children in need.
To accomplish this the CBB follows a 4-step process:
- Engage – The Children’s Book Bank engages schools, businesses, faith groups, civic groups, individuals, scouts, teams, etc. in collecting and preparing donated books for distribution.
- Gather – Every year we gather tens of thousands new and gently used books from the community.
- Clean – The Children’s Book Bank organizes hundreds of volunteers in on-going sessions to prepare donated books for their new homes by erasing scribbles, wiping covers and taping torn pages.
Project BRANCH has scheduled a celebratory cleaning event for Saturday, March 25th, to help the Children’s Book Bank get these donated books ready to hand to children in need. More information to come soon.
- Bundle – The CBB believes that giving children a bundle of books—not just one or two—will increase the likelihood that they will find a book to spark a love of reading and learning. The Children’s Book Bank carefully sorts books to create bundles with a range of age- and skill-appropriate reading levels for each child and with a variety of topics, including books in Spanish for children from Spanish-speaking families and multicultural books for all children, but particularly for those from communities of color.
How Can I Volunteer?
All Junior League of Portland members can volunteer for Project BRANCH. There are multiple ways to volunteer:
- Donation Drive – Host a donation site at your business, community group, church, etc.
- Tabling Outreach – Spend time outside local bookstores and businesses spreading the word about Project BRANCH and encourage donations.
- Cleaning Event – Clean the donated books at our cleaning party March 25th
For more information on all volunteer opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.