Mission and Core Beliefs
Bridge of Books’ mission is to provide an ongoing source of books to underprivileged and at-risk children throughout New Jersey in order to support literacy efforts and to encourage a love of reading.
We operate in accordance with several core beliefs:
• All children should have ongoing and ready access to age appropriate books.
• Books in the home have the power to change lives – providing an understanding of the world, encouraging imagination and promoting dreams.
• Sharing books strengthens communities. We have a responsibility to ensure that all children have access to books.
• Good books should never be read only once.
Our goal is to get as many books as possible into the hands of New Jersey’s at risk and underserved children.
We generally acquire books through book drives and individual donations. Occasionally, we receive overstock books from a publisher or corporate donor. We support our efforts with targeted fund development efforts.
BoB’s distribution network includes over 100 New Jersey agencies and organizations serving at-risk and underprivileged children. We respond to requests for books, arranging delivery or pick-up of appropriate books depending upon the nature of the request and needs of the recipient children. Sample agencies include: HeadStart (multi-county and multi-location), New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (multi-county and multi-location), St. Ann’s Child Care Center, St. Anthony’s Food Bank, Oak Street School, Creative Beginnings Pre-School & Childcare Center, Foster and Adoptive Family Services, The Community YMCA, Woodbridge Child Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Family Growth (Catholic Charities) and the Irvington Family Development Center. We are always working to expand our list of participating agencies.
We provide Spanish and bi-lingual books to agencies around New Jersey as requested.
Special Partnership with New Jersey Youth Corps
Early on, we started to collaborate with the New Jersey Youth Corps in an effort to broaden the distribution of books to underserved communities throughout New Jersey. The New Jersey Youth Corps is a full-time voluntary program with a strong focus on community service that provides education, work experience and life skills training to approximately 1,000 out-of-school youths between the ages of 16 and 25. Youth Corps supervisors and members pick up and distribute books directly to at-risk children in their own communities.
The relationship has been and continues to be a win-win for groups, enabling Youth Corps members to identify and benefit children in their communities and allowing us to reach more children efficiently. To date, BoB has donated books to all eleven Youth Corps sites including Asbury Park, Camden, Trenton, Vineland, Jersey City and Edison, with many of these sites receiving anywhere from two to four donations per year. The number of BoB’s books that these youths have helped to distribute is in the tens of thousands. One Youth Corps Supervisor recently reported distributing BoB’s books to an after-school program in Camden that had no books.
Community Outreach and Special Events
We participate in community events such as resource fairs distributing books directly to children who attend. Once the parents and children get over being astounded that BoB’s books are free, the children are delighted by an opportunity to select as many books as they want to take home and keep. At one event, we gave away over 1300 books in less than four hours!
We also sponsor events to coincide with Read Across America Week. From massive book distributions to in-classroom reading, we love to celebrate Read Across America Week!
We also participate in a prison-reading program, donate to reading coaches and focus on the needs of bi-lingual readers.
We are currently donating books to four adult correctional facilities in New Jersey. Edna Mahon Correctional Facility uses BoB’s books for its Project Storybook program, which assists incarcerated parents in creating audiotapes of them, reading books for their children. The book and the tape of the parent reading it are sent to the child. In addition to getting books into the hands of children who need them, BoB’s donations to these facilities have the added benefit of improving adult literacy and helping to support an ongoing parent-child relationship during the parent’s incarceration.
For several years, BoB has supported New Jersey’s Reading Coaches program by providing books directly to the Reading Coaches across the State. The program was started in 2002 in response to research showing that only 9% of children, who are unable to read by the end of third grade, will ever truly become literate, the Governor instituted an aggressive early literacy program. The program provides trained Reading Coaches to help teachers employ best practices designed to encourage reading.
BoB recognizes the unique challenges facing children for whom English is a second language. We seek books that are written in Spanish and are bi-lingual to distribute to this underserved community. By way of example, BoB has been the sole source of support for Spanish and bi-lingual books to the Great Start program, a pre-school Latino program in Red Bank New Jersey which was started in 2003.
To learn more about donating books, click here.
To learn more about requesting books, click here.