Posted by admin on 03.18.2011 at 9:13 am
As you may recall, a group of BWB employees and two of our Librarian partners recently volunteered to do some hands-on work with the National Center for Family Literacy in Oakland, CA. Here is the first of two videos showing the collaboration of schools, students, and their parents in literacy education. See firsthand what kind of impact your purchases from Better World Books have in the world.
Part 2 is on the way!
Posted by admin on 02.09.2011 at 5:29 pm
Recently, a group of BWB employees and two of our Librarian partners visited the West Coast do some hands-on work with the National Center for Family Literacy. Turns out, it was awesome. Our employees will be sharing their learnings and experiences on this blog, shedding light on the process of fostering literacy in the US.
Here’s one from Jozi Hall, National Account Manager
I spent the week volunteering at the Manzanita Schools with Eddie Porello, our Performance Marketing Specialist, Emily Kirkpatrick, Vice President for the National Center for Family Literacy, David Murphy, our CEO, and Kathleen Stacey from the University of Hawaii Hilo Library, one of our librarian trip winners. We got to work with students at both of the schools at Manzanita: the Manzanita Community School and Manzanita SEED, a two way immersion program in Spanish and English. Sam Davis, the adult-class teacher and our gracious host, created an ambitious schedule for us that including everything from refinishing benches to helping second graders with their model volcano science project and helping language-learner parents create new projects.
We attended an orientation session to learn more about the community and the work of Oakland Adult and Career Education. My favorite part of the orientation was our Polish lesson, which gave us an idea of what it is like for the adult language learners we would be working with. It takes a lot of courage and concentration to learn another language as an adult.
We finished the day with a lovely dinner at Bistro Boudin at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf . Our dinner hostess, Michelle East-Krull, is a University of San Francisco Student and we were happy to learn that she is a customer and fan of Better World Books!
1 Comment » | Tagged Literacy Trips, Impact, literacy
Posted by admin on 02.04.2011 at 6:12 pm
Even though we raise money for literacy with every sale, there’s no substitute for experiencing a literacy initiative first hand. That’s why twice a year BWB sends a randomly selected group of employees far from our headquarters to work with our non-profit partners “in the field.”This past summer, employees traveled to Africa with Books for Africa and Invisible Children – you can read about their experiences here.
Right now, a different group of employees is focusing on domestic literacy with a trip to the West Coast organized by the National Center for Family Literacy. We even had the opportunity to bring two librarians from our library partners with us this time. The NCFL set-up some excellent work for us to do, and the first hand accounts are just starting to come in.
Here’s one from our CFO, Paul Sansone:
Monday we hit it early at a 7AM meeting with NCFL previewing the week, then broke up into our 4 teams and headed out to Oakland Public Elementary schools (Garfield, Manzanita, Greenleaf, and Lazear). My team is at Garfield Elementary and we’ve been working with about 15 parents (all Moms) of students at the school, aiding in teaching them English. We are in a doublewide trailer on the school grounds.
The students are originally from all over the world: Vietnam, El Salvador, Mexico, Bhutan, and have a wide range of English proficiency. Monday afternoon’s orientation session was held at a local high school where the Oakland Adult education offices are co-located. We learned the schools we were sent to have the lowest literacy rates in the district.
We also learned tactics to better educate – use gestures, pictures, speak clearly, do not use slang and avoid talking like you would to an adolescent – these are proud adults who need a hand. Our NCFL hosts and the Oakland teachers we’ve been with have been wonderful.
It’s Important Stuff
We learned that when the parents are learning English this helps make a much more effective educational experience for their children, so helping these Moms is, in essence, going to help the kids become more literate. Also, the social structure in the homes are often turned upside down as the 1st graders often know more English than the parents do.
We spent much of the day reading kids books together, getting to know family members through speaking and writing exercises. I read Good Night, Gorilla as I have to my kids but it meant so much more reading with an adult mother from Vietnam with 2 kids. Brad Weirich’s Greenleaf team is working on a play for the adults (The Grouchy Little Ladybug) to perform to their children.
We also take breaks with some exercise to music which is a highlight for others and a source of embarrassment for me, as I’m old and have no rhythm. We also get to go into the classrooms with the parents of their kids where for 45 minutes a day, they learn together (PACT time – Parents and Children Together). I don’t know anything about their compensation, but whatever these elementary teachers are receiving, it is not enough for what they are doing.
Our Librarian guests are also having a great time, and before this trip is over we should have some great stories to tell.
Chief Financial Officer
Have your say » | Tagged Literacy Trips, Impact, literacy trip, NCFL
Posted by David on 11.16.2010 at 1:55 pm
I recently had the honor of being invited to join an exemplary group of Conscious Business Leaders in Lake Arrowhead, CA for the 2010 C3 Summit: Catalyzing Conscious Capitalism. The event, led by the likes of Whole Foods’ John Mackey and the Container Store’s Kip Tindell, represented the fourth consecutive year that C-level executives and thought leaders came together to explore more conscious ways of leading and operating businesses.
The Conscious Capitalism movement continues to attract influencers who are deeply committed to the transformation of business to a conscious model. To be conscious means to be awake. Conscious Businesses generate value for all of their stakeholders (including the planet) not because it is politically correct to do so but because it is the ultimate path to long-term competitive advantage. Conscious Business Leaders acknowledge that profit is one of the the important purposes of business…..but not the sole purpose; they reject a zero sum, trade off orientated view of business and look for creative, synergistic, win-win approaches that offer multiple kinds of value simultaneously to all stakeholders.
Corporations are probably the most influential institutions in the world, and yet many people do not believe that they can be trusted. Instead corporations are widely perceived as greedy, selfish, exploitative, uncaring – and interested only in maximizing profits.
Conscious Capitalism is a philosophy based on the belief that a more complex form of capitalism is emerging that holds the potential for enhancing corporate performance while simultaneously advancing the quality of life for billions of people. The Conscious Capitalism movement challenges business leaders to re-think why their organizations exist and to acknowledge their company’s role in the interdependent global marketplace.
Conscious Capitalists are unapologetic advocates for the free markets, entrepreneurship, competition, freedom to trade, property rights, freedom to contract, and the rule of law. They recognize that these are essential elements of a healthy, functioning economy, as are trust, compassion, collaboration, and value-creation.
Any meaningful transformation (of business to a conscious model) must incorporate a system-wide perspective that recognizes free markets and entrepreneurship as essential elements of a healthy economy, along with trust, collaboration and value-creation.
It was great to be able to introduce the story of Better World Books to this group of CEO’s and thought leaders and to hear, unequivocally, how much our core business model truly represents the kind of Conscious Business this movement is looking to create. I will continue to engage with the leadership of the Conscious Capital Movement and ensure that Better World Books is well represented….and well understood…..within this community.
Posted by admin on 11.12.2008 at 9:00 am
As the bulk sales coordinator for Better World Books, I have the pleasure of working with buyers from all over the world and the U.S. for orders of 50 or more used books. I could go on and on about the fabulous people I have ‘met’ while assisting them in putting together their orders – whether it is the ladies book club in Australia, a retired teacher in Canada, a used bookseller in Pakistan, or the children’s second hand book buyer in South East Asia – all have their own story, and all share a common love of books.
I recently had the honor of working with Fletcher Roberts, a distinguished young man who came up with a fabulous project to earn his Eagle Scout badge with the Boy Scouts of America. Fletcher raised money locally to fund building shelves (and filling them with books!) for the local Birmingham, Alabama, YWCA homeless shelter.
Have your say » | Tagged Impact, Eagle Scout, Impact, Jill Galloway, Offline Sales, YMCA
Posted by Jack on 10.21.2008 at 10:12 am
ATLANTA, GA – This fall, media-based non-profit Invisible Children will connect students to the overwhelming crisis in Africa in a totally new way – with a documentary told from the perspective of high school students. GO, the first of its kind, is the story of a group of students that traveled into the heart of Africa’s longest-running war. At the end of the 35-minute film, which is being screened in over 1,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada, viewers will be compelled to become a part of the story’s end by getting involved with Invisible Children’s Schools for Schools program.
The international organization created the revolutionary fundraising program in 2006 in response to the need for quality schools in northern Uganda – schools that have been destroyed by displacement, rebel occupation and lack of funding due to the 22-year war. Schools for Schools uses an innovative online social community to help students see where their money is going and connect to different projects, fundraising ideas, and supporters. Within its first year, students rallied together and raised over $3 million.
Posted by Rudy on 10.17.2008 at 12:57 pm
What’s a sea container? Well, for us it’s a lot of books. Last month we bid a fond farewell to what amounted to a massive undertaking of love and fun. We hand packed over 20,000 books bound for Cambodia. While it isn’t our first container, nor our last, this one was the first for the new sales support team, who really got to know each other in this little venture. Picture it: nearly 1000 boxes, all those books, 14 hands… well, you get the picture. And, in case you didn’t, here’s one for you.
Posted by Jack on 10.15.2008 at 2:55 pm
Today is Blog Action Day! The goal, as their website states is:
“Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.”
So here’s my post:
Here at Better World Books, we see everything through a certain lens, and that lens is dead focused on literacy. If a woman in Africa is literate, she is 50% less likely to contract HIV. 1 in 7 people in the world are illiterate and the majority of these people are women. Over half of the eligible population in Detroit, Michigan doesn’t graduate from high school. The fact is, if you can’t read, you can’t succeed. Literacy is the first step towards sustainability and stepping out of the tangled web of poverty.
Posted by Xavier on 09.30.2008 at 11:33 am
What a night it was! David, Niko and I were privileged to attend Books For Africa’s 20th anniversary gala. We all had especially big smiles on our faces when we saw a chart with the number of books shipped to Africa start skyrocketing in 2003 after being almost flat for 10 years. I wonder what happened in 2003? Well, they hired a dynamic director (Pat Plonski) and partnered with a certain online bookseller. Now they ship 75,000 books PER WEEK.
The momentum was unbelievable – there were two congresspeople in attendance, and an address to the audience recorded by none other than Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the UN.
Better World Books is still easily Books For Africa’s largest source of funding, and we presented them with a $95,000 check just to remind everyone. BWB delivers more funding (and a lot of books!) than they receive from OPEC, USAID, or the Minnesota Vikings, all supporters as well.
So Better World Books, be proud of every day you spend working. As Tom Warth, BFA’s founder says, “the children of Africa thank you”.
Posted by Jack on 09.29.2008 at 3:54 pm
The SF office of Better World Books is the newest collection of volunteers at Dave Eggers‘ group, 826 Valencia. Starting next month we’ll be helping at a local SF school with college essays by high school seniors. After that we’ll be spending 3 hours each week at the center, tutoring kids from 6-18 in various subjects. Besides that, some of us will be doing more work on our own time in workshops, in-school tutoring and editing of the publications of the students’ work from the center (guess who’s doing that).
From the site:
826 National is a family of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students, ages 6-18, with expository and creative writing at seven locations across the country.
Our mission is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.
Each chapter offers drop-in tutoring, field trips, workshops, and in-schools programs — all free of charge — for children, classes, and schools with particular interests or particular needs.
826 is especially committed to supporting teachers, offering services and resources for English language learners, and publishing student work. Several locations offer unique retail experiences as well.
1 Comment » | Tagged Impact, 826 Valencia, authors, Dave Eggers, Impact, San Francisco, SF office, volunteering
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