July 24, 2008

Vote Now, Vote Often

Okay, so we all know we have to do that whole voting thing in just a few months. As much as I want change, I'm not looking forward to that time because it means the endless, repetitive ads touting this candidate or that proposition will be back. (If you don't live in California, you may not have the proposition part of the deal, and you may consider yourself extremely lucky in that regard.)

In the meantime, however, there is a vote you can cast right now that will not only be meaningful, but easy and probably enjoyable.

First Book is a nonprofit organization I found out about a few years ago when I worked for a company that had a generous matching gifts program. They came to my attention via a competition for nonprofits in which one would get a big donation for collecting the most individual donations within a certain period of time. First Book didn't win, but I've been a contributor ever since because I'm a big fan of what they do.

First Book's mission is to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. As simple and as wonderful as that. And now through September 15th, you have a chance to help your state receive 50,000 new books for these kids, without spending a dime.

Go here to share What Book Got You Hooked. It asks you to just "Share the memory of the first book that made reading fun for you and then help get more kids hooked: vote for the state to receive 50,000 new books for children in need." You don't even have to do the sharing part if you don't want to, just vote as many times as you can for your state!

They had this campaign for the first time last year and Oklahoma won; I'd like to see another state get the books this year. We all know school programs are suffering everywhere and that low-income kids often don't get a chance for a "luxury" like a new book. No matter what state wins the prize, we all win by helping literacy.

I could write a dozen posts about how important reading is to me and what role it has played in my life, but I'm going to spare us both by not doing that! Suffice it to say that it has been huge from the time I was very, very young. Being able to help another young child find the same kind of connection I've had to books is a very satisfying feeling.

The book I picked as the one that got me hooked? Harriet the Spy.