Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: Books from Birth of Middle Tennessee

Desi Smith’s granddaughter, age 3, seems to have a sixth sense for books that are en route to her house. “She always seems to know when her book is in the mail,” Ms. Smith says. “Because of this program, she has such a passion for books and words, and I believe that she will be a great student when it comes time for school. We had three babies born in our church last week, and because of [my granddaughter’s] love for reading, all the parents signed up for Books from Birth.” This amazing organization is turning children into readers, one book at a time.

The mission of Books from Birth of Middle Tennessee is to increase literacy and school readiness while strengthening family relationships. The organization has three early childhood literacy programs:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (32,000 kids receive one book a month from birth through age five, regardless of family income and at no cost to the family)
• Jo’s Reach Out & Read Book Club (at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt)
• The Family Literacy Program

With only three staff, volunteers are essential in helping with day-to-day maintenance of this organization. Many volunteers fill ongoing needs such as picking up undeliverable books from the post office, registering children for the Imagination Library, reading to kids in clinic waiting rooms, and in-office administrative tasks. While these ongoing volunteer slots are currently full, interested volunteers can email cathy.riviere@vanderbilt.edu to sign up for the mailing list to find out when new slots become available. There are also many one-time needs such as assisting with annual fundraisers (committee chairs, silent auction, set-up/tear-down, marketing, etc.) and participating in community events.

Upcoming Books from Birth volunteer opportunities:

Family Valentine’s Dance – Sat., Feb. 11, The Factory at Franklin:
This annual family-friendly event needs registration volunteers from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Please contact Cathy Riviere at cathy.riviere@vanderbilt.edu to sign up or for more information. Click here for details about the dance and tickets.

Cupcake-palooza
Sat., March 24, Belmont United Methodist Church:
This volunteer-driven annual fundraiser features local cupcake vendors and bakers, with proceeds benefiting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Volunteers are needed for the following shifts:

• 12-2 p.m. Setup, sign holders, picking up cupcakes
• 2-5 p.m. Registration, ticket sales, kids area, cupcake stations
• 5-7 p.m. Cleanup/teardown

All volunteers will be entitled to sample a designated number of cupcakes! Read more about this event on the Facebook event page  and click here to sign up.

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