New Year, New Leadership!

Happy 2017 from the Bring on the Books team! BOB is thrilled to announce some exciting news in our leadership team!

The 2016 Bring on the Books Team!

The 2016 Bring on the Books Team!

From Hediya:

Hediya Sizar

Hediya Sizar

Dear Bring on the Books community,

Happy New Year! Thank you so much for your individual support this past year with BOB. I am very excited for what 2017 will bring for our organization, especially since there will be new leadership changes.

After six years as Executive Director, I will be stepping down and transitioning my position to Jessica Oliphant. Jessica has been working with BOB for the past two years, developing significant partnerships across the NYC region. As a NYU undergrad specializing in public policy, she will bring new perspectives in growing and expanding our impact. I trust Jessica will sustain the BOB mission and vision. I will provide guidance during my transition and stay involved with BOB as a Board member.

I am excited for what BOB will accomplish in 2017 under new leadership. Since 2008, BOB has been able to reroute over 76K books to families across the U.S., release the first ever book donation app on the Apple App Store, and establish 30+ partnerships to bridge the access-to-books gap. It has been an honor sharing the BOB story and spreading the love of reading with you all.

I am looking forward as a community to continue increasing our impact! Thank you for your endless support and encouragement.

With gratitude,

Hediya

 

From Jessica:

Jessica Oliphant, with her sister Margaret

Jessica Oliphant, with her sister Margaret

Dear BOB Community,

Happy 2017 and thank you for your continued support! I am so excited to bring in the new year with my new position as Executive Director at Bring on the Books. I can’t wait to use this opportunity to hone my passions for literature and service. My whole life I have loved books. Collecting books, reading books, browsing bookstores are some of my favorite pastimes. Reading has always given me an escape, and I’m excited to give other children this opportunity through Bring on the Books.

In the new year, I hope to use the platform of the new BOB app to create a connected community of users. Just like the BOB team is an interconnected community, the app will give book lovers the opportunity to create a network of other book lovers. Together, we can bridge the access-to-books gap. We will accomplish this vision by launching an aggressive marketing campaign in 2017 to recruit new users to the app as well as launch bi-yearly fundraising events!

I am excited to work with this community to bring literacy into the homes of all Americans, and I look forward to all the excitement that 2017 will bring.

Best,

Jessica

 

Interested in joining the Bring on the Books team? Check out www.bringonthebooks.org/join-our-team/ for job descriptions and instructions on how to apply!

Mind + Body Drive

It’s been a long while since we’ve posted on our blog, but that’s because we’ve been so busy with our most recent initiative: the Mind + Body Drive!

mindandbody_2.png

For this event, we are so excited to announce our partnership with FIT 4 All, a non-profit organization aiming to make fitness wear and fitness classes accessible to underprivileged communities. Together, we are bringing you a fun-filled fitness event complete with an intense, high-interval strength training, followed by a 45-minute restorative yoga flow! Entrance to the event is 1 gently-used or new children’s or YA book AND 1 piece of gently-used or new active wear.

Our goal is to stimulate the minds and the bodies of underprivileged youth communities.We have learned that not only do low-income youth have limited access to books, but they are also limited in their ability to exercise due to a lack of proper attire. There are a plethora of benefits in both exercising and reading, and with your help, we can bring that to communities who do not have access to this.

Plus, if you choose to donate money at the event, you’ll also be entered in a raffle featuring a POP Pilates yoga mat, THREE $25 Barnes and Noble gift cards, and other awesome stuff.

We hope that you’ll join us! Details below:

Where: University Settlement at Houston
When: Oct 22, 2-4pm
Bring: 1 gently-used or new children’s or YA book + 1 piece of gently-used or new active wear

 

5 Books to Read this Summer!

Happy Summer! For the BOB team, the warm weather means kicking back with a good stack of books. If you’re looking for a new read, check out some awesome suggestions below!

Jessica Oliphant

Jessica Oliphant

My absolute favorite book is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It follows the notion that all the gods anyone has ever believed in inhabit physical bodies and live on Earth. Neil Gaiman has a unique ability to immerse you in his mythical worlds. Overall, the story is fantastic and interspersed with comical social satire, and it will definitely leave you thinking!

Hediya Sizar

Hediya Sizar

I am constantly trying to find new ways to improve myself and be the best person I can be. The Road to Character by David Brooks is a great read to strive to build a life with humility and recognize our limitations. Brooks explores the powerful stories of leaders such as Dwight Eisenhower, Dorothy Day, George Eliot to inspire. This is an essential and eye-opening book to read in its entirety!

Ama Uytingco

Ama Uytingco

I’m currently rereading a book called Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I got this book in high school as a gift from one of my closest friends. I read through it then, but never have I appreciated it more than at this point in my life when I’m so close to graduating college. Reading this book – and I mean really reading it, taking notes in it, and making highlights – is an invitation for me to reflect on myself. When do I experience “flow?” What kinds of “flow” have I known? How do I continue to find “flow” for myself and, in turn, find more opportunities for self-fulfillment?

Jason Lin

Jason Lin

I recently started reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. After watching Duckworth’s TED Talk, I really started thinking about why we automatically assign ‘talent’ to successful people, completely overlooking hard work and perseverance. This book delves into her research on grit shines light on the lack of shortcuts to success and importance of finding and sticking to our passions regardless of how difficult it becomes or how many times we have to start again. As a college student, this book definitely leaves me reflecting on how I want to approach my future endeavors. Definitely worth a read!

 

McKenzie McFee

McKenzie McFee

Currently I am reading Lovecraft’s Monsters an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and featuring many amazing science fiction and fantasy writers such as Neil Gaiman. All of the short stories are based off of monsters that the writer H.P. Lovecraft featured in many of his stories. This book is a great read for the summer especially since I commute! My favorite story so far in this collection has been “A Quarter to Three” by Kim Newman, it’s short, sweet, and hilarious! This book is a mixture of silly, scary, and strange, and definitely worth a read this summer.

Thoughts or comments? Feel free to leave them below or reach out to us via Facebook (/BringOnTheBooks) or Twitter (@BOtBFoundation)!

A Note from Hediya

Hediya Sizar,  Executive Director

Hediya Sizar, 
Executive Director

Hey everyone! Hediya here. I’m a rising senior studying Media, Culture, and Communication and Psychology at NYU. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but I also have moved around a bit to places such as South Korea, Seattle, Los Angeles. Now I’m in New York City! I have dreamed of living in the Big Apple since I was seven years old and now it is a reality! I came to this city to explore the media industry and grow personally and professionally.

Hediya and McKenzie at a team meeting

Hediya and McKenzie at a team meeting

Aside from being a digital media enthusiast, I am a huge book junkie (no surprise). It was my passion for reading that inspired me to co-found Bring on the Books Foundation. When I was growing up I found books to be my sanctuary. Every story I read motivated me to discover my full potential. The power of storytelling is what fuels us here at BOB and that is why we are committed to providing books to people across America.

As Executive Director I have strategic and operational responsibility for BOB’s team, initiatives, and execution of our mission. What I enjoy the most is managing our incredible team! In the past few years I have learned how valuable teamwork and collaboration are to achieve success. I have witnessed not only each of our team members grow, but also the potential of BOB. We have become big innovators dedicated to spreading our love for stories and providing low-income individuals access to books.

Hediya & team members at book drive

Hediya & team members at book drive

Looking forward, we are scaling our impact from book drives to a mobile application that will allow anyone to reroute their gently-used books to their local low-income schools, libraries, and organizations. You just search your nearest donation site and schedule a time to drop-off books. With our new technology, we can work together to decrease the access-to-books gap.

But, the story of Bring on the Books is more than giving books to people in need, it is a story of contemplation, compassion, and commitment. We have the potential to generate transformation because we have observed, interpreted, and evaluated our mission, market, and the root needs of our communities.

We are excited to make impact with the help of our community. Stay tuned for the beta release of our app!

A Note from McKenzie

McKenzie McFee

McKenzie McFee

Hello All! I’m McKenzie, and today is my birthday! I’m currently a rising senior studying Applied Psychology at NYU. I was born and raised in Delaware, a small state on the East Coast, chock full of hidden treasures! I came to New York City, like many people from small towns, with stars in my eyes and hope in my heart. Luckily those stars remain as I fall increasingly more in love with this city each day. I’m the oldest in my large family and have become accustomed to hanging out with small children. Now, I proclaim to be a child whisperer and whenever I’m at a family gathering, or at my part-time job, or even at my internship, you can find me hanging out with the kiddos. Hanging out with children all the time has fueled another passion of mine, education. And it was this passion that has lead me to Bring On the Books.

BOB Driver: McKenzie!

BOB Driver: McKenzie!

As the Chief of Operations I play as the liaison between non-profits and BOB, although I would be nothing without the skills and expertise of Jessica (she is quite brilliant)! I bring in my previous experiences with working on teams to help BOB work as a cohesive unit. On occasion, I am also the person that does the driving (which is why Ama is a paranoid driver). As BOB grows I hope to make more connections, not only to other non-profits, but to whole communities as well. I envision BOB as becoming this entity which has a life of its own, spreading literacy and stories across communities, states, and eventually across countries.

Here at BOB our passion for stories is what keeps us running. It is the stories that we tell that motivate others to keep moving forward. As an important member of the BOB community your story matters as well. By supporting us and rerouting your books, you become part of a larger narrative, one that is working to support literacy for all. It is you that keeps us going, and you whose books are given to a small child who has never had a book of their own. And so, as we move forward, I would like to extend my thanks to you for supporting us through this journey and adding to the narrative that is BOB. I can’t wait to see where we go next!

A Note from Ama

Ama Uytingco, Director of Marketing

Ama Uytingco, Director of Marketing

Hi! I’m Ama, a junior studying Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. I was born in Florida, but raised in California (Bay Area shout-out!). I use to think walking over a mile in a day was a lot of exercise, but after living in New York, I realized that not only have I become a walking enthusiast, but I’ve also become a more paranoid driver. Something you should know about me is that I am a self-proclaimed super-fan of all things Avatar: The Last Airbender, and in general of all things fandom. In fact, my early dabbling in fandom is what led me to my current academic interest: fan studies, and the intersection between fandom and civic engagement.

Ama at a recent book delivery

Ama at a recent book delivery

As the Director of Marketing for Bring on the Books, I want to leverage my knowledge of fan practices and passion for social justice and education to inspire a similar interest in others for the cause. My vision for BOB only grow everyday while working with such an incredibly inspirational and motivational team. There’s a genuine rapport among us and the rest of the BOB community that makes the future of this organization so exciting and full of potential!

As we move away from running book drives, our next big step is releasing a BOB mobile app that connects those with gently-used books directly to local shelters, schools, and organizations that need them (as I’m sure most people have heard of by now…). I can’t wait for the BOB community to test it out and be just as excited as we are about the development! Hopefully, our app will urge fellow rerouters to become conscious about what kinds of books they reroute and to whom these books are actually going.

Ama with Jessica, Mckenzie and Hediya at P.S. 244

Ama with Jessica, Mckenzie and Hediya at P.S. 244

As the BOB mission emphasizes, stories are powerful! Whether that story is encountered in a TV show or in a physical book, audiences, especially children, learn to socialize through interactions with media – which is why issues like the literacy gap, coupled with the lack of nuanced representations of diversity across media, matter so much. I’m excited to take part in planning some new projects and share my experiences with everyone in the BOB community!

Thoughts or comments? Feel free to leave them below or reach out to us via Facebook (/BringOnTheBooks) and Twitter (@BOtBFoundation)!

 

A Note from Jason

Jason Lin, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Jason Lin, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Hey all! Jason here. I’m a rising junior at New York University, studying Media, Culture, and Communication and Business Studies. I was born in Downtown Manhattan, but spent most of my childhood in a small town called Hurricane in the heart of West Virginia. I came back to the big city not only to learn and experience what’s offered in the classroom, but also to grow both personally and professionally.

In addition to media and comm, I am passionate about social justice, education, and service. My goal is to utilize digital resources and social media to spark conversations and drive positive change. As well, I hope to one day study the representation (or lack thereof) of minority groups and how this sort of portrayal affects health and social interactions.

BOB Marketing team: Jason & Ama

BOB Marketing team: Jason & Ama

At Bring on the Books, I’m the Digital Marketing Coordinator with focus on social media and outreach. Essentially, I’m bridging my interests in advocacy through media and engagement with social issues dealing with education and literacy. I love working on new projects with our AMAZING team, and hearing about everyone’s goals and passions inspires me to dream bigger and reach higher.

Looking forward, I see so much potential in Bring on the Books. With our new iOS app (coming soon!), we’ll be able to move toward reducing the gap between those who have books and those who don’t. By connecting those who have gently-used books to local shelters, schools, and other organizations, books would then be available for those who may otherwise not have access.

Jason at a book drive with Carolynn and McKenzie

Jason at a book drive with Carolynn and McKenzie

Finally, our team is looking forward to taking on new initiatives, working more closely with local literacy and education focused organizations, and providing service opportunities for students. Because stories have the ability to shape interactions, especially among young readers, I’d also love for us to tackle the issue of gender and racial inequality in terms of representation in books, leveraging important conversations surrounding the availability of and content within literature.

Thoughts or comments? Feel free to leave them below or reach out to us via Facebook (/BringOnTheBooks) or Twitter (@BOtBFoundation)!

A Note from Jessica!

Jessica Oliphant, Outreach Intern

Jessica Oliphant, Outreach Intern

Hello Bring on the Books community! My name is Jessica Oliphant. I’m a first year student at NYU, studying International Relations, but I am also the Outreach Intern for BOB and the newest member of the team. I lived my entire life in St. Louis, Missouri until moving to New York in August. I’m also a mediocre runner and pizza enthusiast. As far as future careers go, I’m still trying to figure that out, but I’d love to continue working with nonprofits. Here at BOB, I reach out to businesses that I think would make good partners for us. I make connections and build relationships with local organizations, schools, and nonprofits to build a network of partners for Bring on the Books. 

I got involved with BOB when our executive director, Hediya, came to talk to a group of service oriented first year students. Hediya talked to us about the importance of literacy and leadership, and I really connected with her enthusiasm for reading and her organization. I was so inspired by her message and the mission of BOB that I knew I had to get involved. Hediya agreed to meet with me, and I’ve gotten to spend my first one and half semesters of college working on BOB and getting to know the fantastic team

Jessica with the Bring on the Books team

Jessica with the Bring on the Books team

In the future, I see the Bring on the Books app closing the gap between New York City’s wealthy and poor. As people are able to easily donate their books, others are able to gain access to them. Education and literacy open the door to so many possibilities, so New Yorkers of all economic backgrounds will have the resources they need to succeed.

Thoughts or comments? Feel free to leave them below or reach out to us via Facebook (/BringOnTheBooks) or Twitter (@BOtBFoundation)!

Book Drive Updates and Looking Forward

(left to right) Carolynn Choi (Chair of NYU GSI), Jason (Digital Marketing Coordinator), and McKenzie (Director of Operations) with some of the donations

(left to right) Carolynn Choi (Chair of NYU GSI), Jason (Digital Marketing Coordinator), and McKenzie (Director of Operations) with some of the donations

We’re excited to update everyone on the success of our recent Bring on the Books Drive! Admittedly, we were unsure if we could pull it together in time because the opportunity had presented itself somewhat last-minute. However, thanks to the support of NYU Student Government’s Global Service Initiative (GSI) and NYU Service, as well as that of the amazingly giving NYU community, we collected over 400 books in a week!

The sorting process! Organized into children’s books, YA, novels, textbooks, and misc

The sorting process! Organized into children’s books, YA, novels, textbooks, and misc

We can’t stress enough how important your contribution is to our cause; there are always individuals who can and will benefit from the books you reroute. Especially with the proliferation of e-books and digital publishing in general, those with access to these technological resources have the privilege of reading more books at a lower monetary and physical cost. The educational and technological divide between those who can access rich pools of literature and those who cannot only deepens. With your support, we are able to move toward bridging this literary gap.

The books have been rerouted to the following schools and organizations:

Successful Book Drop-Off at P.S. 244!

Successful Book Drop-Off at P.S. 244!

Looking to the future, we’re anticipating the release of our app, Bring on the Books (BOB), which will connect people with gently-used books directly to the organizations, shelters, and schools that need them!

Thoughts or comments? Feel free to leave them below or reach out to us via Facebook (/BringOnTheBooks) or Twitter (@BOtBFoundation)!