Dear Friends and Supporters,
As we bring the 2019-2020 school year to a surprisingly abrupt close, My Own Book is proud to have served over 3500 students in 62 high needs schools across New York City’s five boroughs, and in some of the poorest and hardest pressed communities in our city. Like the rest of the country, The COVID-19 virus significantly impacted our program as the NYC schools closed down in March, and we were unable to complete our program for the remaining 1000+ kids we intended to serve in the spring. Our dedicated volunteers will be ready whenever possible to resume this wonderful program.
Our goal is simple and powerful: We want to give kids the experience of browsing for books, choosing books and owning books that will create the foundation for their own home libraries. We want to foster a love of reading and the joy of book ownership with New York City’s most disadvantaged children.
This begins with a simple invitation: “Come with us to shop for your own books. Come shop with us to begin to build your very own library with books you will read again and again, books you will read with your mom and dad, brothers and sisters, cousins and aunts and uncles; books you will share with your friends. We want you to come with us and fall in love with books and reading.” My Own Book provides each student in participating classrooms $50 to buy books and start their own library at home.
“‘Even a little bit goes a long way,’ in terms of the number of books in a home. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit.”1 This was found in a 20-year study conducted by Mariah Evans, associate professor of sociology and resource economics at the University of Nevada, Reno.
What students in our high needs schools have lacked in opportunities, they more than make up for in curiosity, brain power and motivation. My Own Book wants to help these children access the opportunities and experiences to build toward their futures. Engaging with books, choosing and getting lost in books can change a child’s life forever.
Since My Own Book was founded in 1999, our purpose has been to level the playing field for children who have not had the joy of a journey through a bookstore to browse and explore the books, to hold and select, to purchase and enjoy books for their very own. Children in schools that work with My Own Book are assured that life changing experience.
Kids who have participated with My Own Book purchased well over 30,000 treasured books to read and re-read — on their own and with their families. Some children were able to bring home five, six, seven books, or more. The evidence shows that this experience sinks deep roots to nurture children’s increased enthusiasm for reading and improved literacy skills which can lead to greater academic and lifelong success.
We want to thank the foundations, corporations, individual donors, and our wonderful cadre of dedicated volunteers and our donors for their continued generous support. And we wish to thank the Helmsley Charitable Trust whose support since 2012 has made it possible for My Own Book to involve third grade students in 10 more Bronx schools.
In the past year, My Own Book has added two more Bronx schools, two more Brooklyn schools and one more school in Staten Island.
Also, special thanks to the Table 4 Writers Foundation for its generous support in memory of Elaine Kaufman, the legendary New Yorker whose Elaine’s restaurant was a second home to countless famous writers.
As a final, important note, I am very pleased to announce that in order to assure a continuity of leadership for My Own Book (MYOB), we have entered into an affiliation agreement with the Social Services Board (SSB), the philanthropic arm of The New York Society for Ethical Culture. The agreement essentially secures the future of our program and mission of having children in need purchase and own their very own books. Most importantly, it provides that when MYOB’s present leadership is no longer active, SSB will provide the needed management for many years to come. To that end MYOB’s President and Executive Vice President have joined the SSB Board and two SSB Board members joined the MYOB Board. Those two have become active and enthusiastic volunteers. In a word, the affiliation agreement is being successfully implemented.
Explore our website to learn more from testimonials of parents, teachers, and the children themselves.
Thanks and regards,
Founder — My Own Book