Melanie Jeffs, Orca’s Director of Digital Products, talks about a new initiative in Victoria, BC. 1000 X 5 aims to provide books to children under age five.
A local mission to promote early literacy: 1000 X 5
One of the great things about working in the book industry is that you get to meet people who are passionate about books, and you get to learn about all cool book-related projects. Earlier this month I got to visit one of the sites of what is now my favorite book project.
The project is called 1000 x 5, and their mission is to ensure that every child in Greater Victoria has read 1000 books by the age of 5. To achieve this goal, groups of retired teachers gather once a week to put together book giveaway packages that are distributed to local organizations.
In January Orca donated 6000 books to 1000 x 5, and Eileen Eby, Project Leader for Victoria invited me to visit Rock Heights Elementary on sorting day. When I arrived, about a dozen ladies were busy cleaning and reviewing used books. After the books passed the quality check, they were bundled according to age, put in a pretty blue bag and tied with a ribbon. This aesthetic detail goes a long way in making kids feel like they are receiving something special.
These ladies gather every a week without fail. On the day I visited, one volunteer was working on her birthday. She was rewarded with cake. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and a number of the women thanked me for the books from Orca, telling me how great it was to be able to include a brand new book in the packages.
The folks at 1000 x 5 have collected over 180 000 books and have distributed them to over 1600 families through 41 local agencies. Those are amazing numbers. They do this with the help of community organizations like Rotary’s Early Start and with donations.
If you are in the Victoria area and would like to get involved, there is a book drive this Saturday at Oak Bay High School from 9:00am to 2:00pm. They are looking for books for children aged 5 and under.
For more information on the upcoming book drive, visit the event page on Facebook.
You can also check out Peninsula Connection’s for Early Childhood’s website for more information about the 1000 x 5 Children’s Book Recycling Project, or watch a video about the organization here.