I think about George Clooney a lot, but it’s not what you’re thinking. Well, sometimes it probably is what you’re thinking. Because, really. But honestly, most of the time it is because of his philanthropy work, and specifically something he said in an interview a few years ago.
The reporter asked him how giving back came to be such a large part of his life. And George (I’m assuming he’d want me to call him that) said that from a young age, his father always took the kids with him whenever he was volunteering for something. When the reporter asked if he’d enjoyed this, George answered honestly and said something like, “No, he dragged me kicking and screaming.” But he admitted that those early experiences helped influence how much he commits to philanthropic endeavors as a grown up.
Donated clothing items and outerwear were brand new, and each area had a trained volunteer that helped make sure we were picking out the correct sizes and items.
And then we came to MY toy area, the books! It was just so thrilling to pick out books for the children, especially after learning that some areas of the reservation do not have libraries.
The “book corner” volunteer had everything sorted according to age and reading level, and gave advice with the wisdom of a librarian (she probably was one!). I saw many new books that I’d have loved to have gotten my hands on myself.
Knowing what kind of shape my children’s books are in when they get around to being donated, I asked where so many pristine, new books had come from. The answer was that several of the books were purchased, at drastically reduced rates, from the organization First Book.
From their website: “First Book provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis.”
And while I’m tooting First Book’s horn, as many of you know there are other equally great programs that are working to get new books into the hands of kids who might not otherwise have access to them. Some of my favorites are: Book Train, which works to “[help] foster children discover great books – and keep them!” and Reading is Fundamental.
Rochelle pointed out that it is especially helpful when people donate money to hawkwing, because she can use that money to get so many more books through First Book than she can if the same donor bought books from a traditional retailer.
There are so many organizations and people using their powers for good in this world. Pick one and get involved! Donate or volunteer! You might just meet George Clooney!*
Also, if you are interested in current Native American culture, I encourage you to check out Sherman Alexie’s book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, about growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. It’s a fantastic and eye-opening read.
*This is probably not going to happen. Sorry.