So November is in full gear, I'm just a few days away from celebrating my next birthday and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. If you know me, you know I use birthdays for reflection. Starting about a week before the birthday and lasting for a good week after, I ponder the previous year's adventures, look back 5 years (or some other appropriate number - like 2, when my daughter celebrated her second birthday) and look ahead to plan new goals. I'm also goal driven, but you already know that.
Through our business, Balanced Steps, my mom and I have sold over 1,000 copies of We Are Girls Who Love to Run. While this is nothing to sneeze at, especially for an independent publishing company, we are looking to make more of a ripple with the message in the book. We are thankful for the families and libraries that have made our little book part of their collection. We also know that there are readers who don't have access to uplifting books like ours. So this week we're shipping out cases of books to non-profit organizations nationwide to get the book into the hands of girls who really need extra encouragement and affirmation that they are strong and important members in their community. Each of the groups we are reaching will be able to give 24 girls a copy of We Are Girls Who Love to Run to add to her bookshelf. Many of these girls don't have many books on their shelves, but thanks to organizations like Nashville's Book'em and Boston-based Fit Girls, high-quality books will become part of their lives.
As much as our little business counts on book sales to survive, we know that giving back to the community is an important part of what we set out to accomplish when we established Balanced Steps. These non-profit groups share our mission of inspiring youth to find and follow their passions through literacy (and fitness). As women, moms, educators and members of the book industry, we couldn't be more pleased to support them in their work.
Inspired? Check out the websites for the groups who will be receiving books from us. These non-profits, and many regional groups like them, are working tirelessly this season to get books into the hands of youth (and not just this winter, but year round!). Some groups want new books, while others pledge to find good homes for gently used books - the websites have the details!
Fit Girls - a program for 4th & 5th graders that started in the Boston-area that promotes healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy hearts. Participants run, read and participate in community outreach. The Boston Fit Girls Project is supported by the DMSE Children's Fitness Foundation.
Book'em - a Nashville-based nonprofit organization focusing on the collection and distribution of books to children and teens in lower-income families who might not otherwise have books of their own. They also provide volunteer readers to local preschools and elementary schools.
Page Ahead - a Washington State-based nonprofit organization guided by the fact that literacy is essential to lifelong success. They provide new books and develop reading activities that empower at-risk children.
The Hall Steps Foundation - founded by the elite running husband-wife duo Ryan and Sara Hall, the foundation seeks to take small steps toward the marathon goal of ending poverty. Internationally the Foundation partners with existing charities. Their US work uses running and mentoring to reach at-risk youth.
How do YOU share your passion? How can you turn your gratitude into a gift for others?