In October 2010, the BTL Foundation launched its Book Drive for Children. Education in developing countries is one of the key areas where the BTL Foundation lays its focus on and makes a difference. The children of Vidyavahini schools in India under the BTL Educational Trust are in need of preschool – middle school level books. The children in Haiti will immensely benefit from donated new or gently used books since hundreds of children are still deprived of school facilities after the devastating earthquake and lack access to books. Founder Chairman Mr. B.T.Lakshman personally made a trip to Haiti this April to explore potential sites for rebuilding schools. To this end, the BTL Foundation has encouraged volunteers and others across Delaware to lend a hand in collecting books — both story & educational, new/gently used. Dedicated volunteers of the BTL Foundation collected books for children from libraries, homes, schools and businesses and helped to put up a collection of over 1500 books. One volunteer herself collected about 1000 books and brought them to the office neatly organized and packed. We are proud of our volunteers and a Big Thanks go out to all of them.
Now, there was the challenging task of sorting, organizing and packing the books, so they can be shipped overseas to different countries. BTL Foundation was looking for volunteers, when an Education coordinator of the Networks program of the Christina School district contacted the office. She said that her students from the clerical co-op class at the Networks School for the Entrepreneurial Sciences can offer to sort and pack the books. The students were ready to take on the responsibility even though some of them had limited reading abilities. Thus a schedule was set up, where the group of students stopped by the Foundation office every Wednesday of the week, picked up 2 or 3 containers of books and took them to their school in their van, where they counted and sorted the books according to grade level. The boxes of books were then returned by the school the following week and so on. Specially 11 students of the networks program need mention who participated. They sampled a variety of packaging techniques, shopped for packing materials and supplies, and researched postal rates and regulations. The students eventually came up with the idea of recycling the shredded papers from another enterprise as cushioning material inside the boxes of books packed. By the end of the project the group sorted and packaged 27 cartons of books. Each student spent 25-40 hours on the project. BTL Foundation labels were also put on tops of boxes for identification.
This voluntary project undertaken by the students is by no means an ordinary one. Their outstanding contribution motivated the Foundation to honor them with the Award for “Best Volunteer of 2011”. The volunteers were presented with the award on the Annual Benefactors & Volunteer Appreciation Day in March 2012 amidst benefactors, supporters and distinguished members of the BTL Foundation.
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