Invisible Children and Better World Books Team Up for “World’s Biggest Book Drive”

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.

The World’s Biggest Book Drive will build upon Schools for Schools’ innovative fundraising strategy and will help complete the ambitious projects at Invisible Children’s eleven partner schools in northern Uganda.  Through a Partnership with Better World Books, a global bookstore that harnesses the power of capitalism to bring literacy and opportunity to people around the world, over 1,000 student groups will be invited to join the movement by leading community-wide book drives.

A winner of the 2008 Fast Company Social Capitalist Award, Better World Books is a fast-growing social enterprise that collects donated books and sells them online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide.  Through partnerships with more than 1,600 college campuses and 900 libraries nationwide, Better World Books has generated over $4.7 million for its non-profit, library and college partners, donated 1 million books to literacy programs globally, and diverted nearly 13.5 million books from landfills.

The World’s Biggest Book Drive
will utilize the passion, creativity and hard work of student groups inspired by the GO documentary, and the technical and logistical expertise of Better World Books, to collect, sell and donate used books in support of schools in northern Uganda.

“What’s incredible about this program is that it relies on the most unlikely donors – high school and college students – to raise the money, allowing them to believe that they have what it takes,” said Laren Poole, Invisible Children co-founder and GO Director. “At the end of the fundraising and book drive competition, the top students have the chance to visit their school in Uganda to meet students their own age. It’s a story come full circle.”

Xavier Helgesen, a co-founder of Better World Books, believes the partnership with Invisible Children is unique in that “it allows ordinary citizens across the U.S. and Canada to support lasting peace in Uganda by donating a national resource in vast supply in both countries – used books.  Books cluttering up their closets, stuffed under their beds, and collecting dust on their shelves will be transformed into dollars to support literacy and international development.”

22 all-expenses-paid trips to northern Uganda will be awarded to student groups that raise the most money, collect the most books, and offer the most creative ideas for propelling the Schools four Schools movement.

The World’s Biggest Book Drive starts on September 8, 2008, and will end on January 31st, 2009.

About Invisible Children, Inc. Established in 2005, Invisible Children is a social, political, and global movement using the transformative power of a story to change lives. By inspiring youth culture to value creativity, idealism, and sacrifice, the movement fuels the most effective, adaptable, and innovative programs in the world. Invisible Children, Inc. was formed after the release of the film “Invisible Children: Rough Cut”, which documents a war in northern Uganda in which children are abducted by a rebel army and forced to fight as child soldiers. Currently, Invisible Children is putting 740 kids through school and employs more than 250 men and women living in this war-torn region, with plans to see that number grow. These programs on the ground were developed by the people of northern Uganda and seek to improve the quality of life for individuals through quality education, enhanced learning environments and innovative economic opportunities.

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