Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – Hope Through Books

Name: Katie Dorsey
From: Fort Wayne , IN
Grade: Junior
School: Carroll High School
Votes: 468

Five years ago, my family had to leave a home that we loved and we moved to Fort
Wayne, Indiana where we knew no one. My mom was looking for ways to
volunteer and get us involved within the community. She stumbled upon
Community Harvest Food Bank. We started delivering groceries to
homebound seniors. We volunteered once a week and got to know the
seniors, as well as the employees, at the food bank very well.

Last year it dawned on me how many kids came to the food bank with their families
every week. This struck me because I have never had to worry about
how I’m going to get my next meal but so many children do. I
realized that if they do not have enough money to pay for food, they
probably don’t have enough for books either.

Books have always been a big deal in my house and I believe it is important to have
books around. This is why I created Hope Books. Hope Books is a
program in which I strive to give out books to kids from lower income
families. Almost all of the books I collect are donated from friends,
neighbors, and other people around the community. Since March of 2015
I have given away close to 7000 books. This summer we reached out to
free lunch locations around Fort Wayne. Since we started, I have
dedicated more than 200 hours probably more to the program. I go to
garage sales and explain the impact a book can make and just ask if
they will donate their left over books. I also take time to sort,
pack, and deliver each of the books. Although I spend time filling
various bookshelves around town, giving the kids the books myself is
the most rewarding.

My favorite part of this program is seeing the children’s face light up when I hand
them a book and tell them that it is theirs to keep. It reminds me
why I am dedicating my time and energy for these kids. Through Hope
Books kids will grow a passion for books and learning, that will help
them succeed in the future. I have learned that kids are the same no
matter where they grow up. They all have a longing for a hope and a
future. My biggest challenge has been speaking in front of people and
getting the word out. I am not a person who enjoys public speaking or
talking about myself, and starting this program has stretched my
capabilities and helped me grow to be a better speaker.

In the future I see the program growing into a not-for-profit that
reaches beyond Fort Wayne and into surrounding communities. If I were
to come back in twenty years I would hope to see a community full of
adults that still have a passion for learning and are sharing their
passion with their kids and neighbors.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".