Imagine a world without books. Imagine going to sleep at night as a child without having had a bedtime story read to you. Imagine attending school with other children whose homes are filled with books and who do considerably better than you academically, as a result.
At the young age of 8 years, Maria Keller learned about the literacy issues facing our communities. As an avid reader, Maria became aware that many children throughout the U.S. and beyond have never owned a book. They have never had a bedtime story read to them nor stepped foot in a public library. Maria Keller understand that a home that’s rich in books is a home that’s rich in possibilities.
As founder of Read Indeed, Maria has spent the last 6 years using her organizational skills, love of reading, creativity, and tenacity, to create and organize a successful nonprofit serving the impoverished youth of our nation. To date Read Indeed has collected and distributed 1.8 million books to kids in need. Thanks to a tremendous outpouring of support from hundreds of volunteers--both young and old--Read Indeed has impacted the lives of approximately 900,000 youth to date.
By engaging thousands of individuals, Maria has used her creative spirit to procure nearly 2 million books for at-risk children. She has solicited corporations, churches, and community groups to host book drives. Maria also has distributed these books to schools, hospitals, and nonprofits serving underprivileged children and teens throughout the world.
In addition to hosting and orchestrating hundreds of book drives, and procuring books from individual donors, Maria has also spent time writing grant proposals and establishing corporate sponsors that have helped Read Indeed grow significantly and reach so many more children. In addition, she has garnered more than $80,000 in individual donations to help purchase brand new books for these children.
With the help of individuals, community groups, and organizations, Read Indeed is making an impact: one that is not only providing the basic reading essentials to children who have none, but Maria am also showing these young recipients that you are never too young (or old) to make a difference. Maria has received accolades from educators who have been able to provide books for their students to keep and how these books are vital tools in these students' reading success. Maria also has spoken on the topic of literacy and the importance of educating parents about reading to children and having books in their homes. And she am working to provide these books to every child who needs them.
When Maria initially started Read Indeed, with the goal of collecting 1 million books by the time she turned 18, she didn't have any idea that this 'fun' idea would grow exponentially and that she would reach her goal 5 years ahead of schedule. At times, the response of the community at large has been overwhelming. But then, when Maria looks in the warehouse that is teeming with books, and wonders how on earth the work will get done, she thinks of the children.
She thinks about when she personally hand a book to a child in need, such as at an inner city school, the delight in their eyes is palpable. She has heard from thousands of children, recipients of the books that Read Indeed shipped to them, that these are some of the first books they have ever owned. She has received dozens of letters and emails from other kids who are eager to do what they can to help her efforts. These letters and emails are sent from children throughout the United States who have heard about Read Indeed and her goal to get books into the hands of the kids who need them the most.
Maria is thrilled that she has been able to entice these kids to recognize a need in our society and help do something to solve it. On the weekends when Read Indeed has volunteer events at the Read Indeed warehouse, she’s amazed to look around and see that the majority of the volunteers are kids themselves, busy counting, sorting, and boxing books to be given to other kids in need. It is truly an awesome moment!
Maria is determined to continue getting books to kids who need them the most—-providing these children with engaging books that to keep in their homes that will have a significant impact on propelling them to a higher level of education.
Maria expects to continue on in her effort for many years to come and possibly expand the Read Indeed warehouse space and the number of organizations she serves, as funds allow.
Maria strives to have a profound impact on the lives of the children who have no books in their homes. She hopes to introduce thousands of children to Albus Dumbledore, Mary Poppins, Tom Sawyer, the White Witch, and Madeline. Maria looks forward to having one of the books she’s distributed to a child, resting on their bedside table, bookmarked for another day.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories