Ride for Reading: Can You Spare a Book?

ride for reading tribellaAnyone who knows me knows I love my bicycles. And you also know that I’m a self-admitted geek. I’m going to start today by telling you a little story. It has a lot to do with who I am today and why you stop by here to read the words you do on a regular basis.

My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. My older brother, younger sister and I didn’t get a lot of trips to the toy store – and that was by design. Our parents were (and still are) smart. Honor students, former military and they knew one thing: an education was the stepping stone that would get us on the path towards wherever we wanted to go in life. Toys were for Christmas and birthdays. Books? Those were rewards.

There was nothing better than a trip to the bookstore when I was a kid. Some days, I got to pick out one book. On those days, it’s be a Choose Your Own Adventure volume (because I could read it 9 times and get a different story each pass through). Others, it was a two or three book day. Mad Libs, Nancy Drew volumes, Judy Blume angst gatherings…our family had bookshelves throughout the house that rivaled the downtown Houston public library. We went on trips with books, took them to school, read them at lunch and fell asleep with them. And it’s pretty much a miracle that I love books at all.

I’m dyslexic. Severely. My parents spent hours upon hours with me as a kid trying to get me to “read straight.” Math? Fugghedaboudit. Hate the stuff. My brain can do the work, but it does it with the wrong numbers (and teachers don’t give you points for “close”). But thanks to my parents and trying trick after trick to make the letters and words come out straight so they made sense, I’m living my dream as a professional writer. I write things that people read (which shocks the shit out of me daily, I assure you). I live by spell check and still take notes in longhand because it makes my brain slow down. I proofread and oftentimes read sentences backwards because some days, it’s the only way I can understand what something means. And I can’t help but to think what my life would be like if:

  • I’d been able to “read straight” from the get go
  • My parents had bought me toys instead of books

Would I be a writer still? I have no idea. But books are important to me and that’s why I’m asking for your help today.

I Want Your Children’s Books

And here’s where the bikes come in. My cycling team, TriBella (including a pic of The Redhead in a cycling kit…and if you’re going to gawk, could you at least fan the page?), has partnered with Ride for Reading, a national program that delivers children’s books to schools in need. This year, we chose Columbine Elementary School due to the number of kids that receive free or reduced-rate lunches on account of the surrounding area’s economic demographics. The state of education in this country is dismal enough without the proposed $332 million in budget cuts that Colorado’s about to take from state educational funding for K-12 programs and I can’t help but to think one thing:

Maybe there’s an Erika in Columbine Elementary School.

So that’s why I’m asking you to send me your children’s books.

How You Can Help

On April 29, the ladies from my race team will be hand-delivering the books we collect to Columbine Elementary School and we’d love to bring as many books as possible. Here’s what I want you do to:

  • Talk to your co-workers
  • Talk to your neighbors
  • Dig through the attic and those boxes in the closet
  • Find as many children’s books as you can
  • Put them in boxes
  • Ship them to our bike shop.

It’s the 5th of April and we need them no later than the 28th. That’s 23 days you have to help a kid like me – maybe a kid like yours – discover the joy of books.

Don’t want to box up books and haul them to the post office or UPS? Here are a few other ideas on how you can help:

  • GOOD: Send us a check. Make it payable to TriBella Race Team and we’ll go shopping for you (we’ll even send you the itemized receipt).
  • BEST: Drop by Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a place like AbeBooks (a leading used bookseller). Many of these stores have FREE SHIPPING with minimum purchases. Do some shopping (check those Bargain Bins!) and send the books directly to our bike shop.


Money Where My Mouth Is

RedheadWriting will match all donations made in RedheadWriting’s name up to $250. Just make sure you put a note in your box or on the shipment that your donation should be applied to RedheadWriting, mkay? And if you’re in the Denver/Boulder area and would like to make a book donation, drop me a line. One of the ladies from TriBella will come by and pick up your books from your home or office. Voila! So fancy. The ladies on my team have done phenomenal things already and we’d like to thank multiple Barnes & Noble locations and Denver’s own Tattered Cover for their participation in our book drive.

And as a closing note, Ride for Reading is NOT a nonprofit and we can’t offer you a snazzy tax deduction for your donation. It’s just something good to do with your heart and a box to help kids that were once like me discover the joy of reading. Books are a significant part of who I am today. Maybe you feel the same way.

So that’s it. I’m not asking you to vote for me for anything. I’m not asking you to break the bank. We could all do with a little spring cleaning (in our houses AND our souls), so if you can help, here’s the last bit of info you need:

 

Where to Ship Your Books

 


TriBella Women’s Multisport
1060 Bannock St.
Denver, Co 80204
(303) 495-2477

…thank you.

37 comments
Mzamywhite
Mzamywhite

Red, how is this coming along? Let us know if you need more books!

The Redhead
The Redhead

I think we're going to be pushing 1000 books! But yes, anything you'd like to send, we're happy to have.

The Redhead
The Redhead

And thanks in return for running s terrific program, Mathew!

Ride for Reading
Ride for Reading

Great write up! Thank you for your help in promoting literacy and healthy living in your area! We really appreciate your support. Mathew Portell Ride for Reading Founder

Mzamywhite
Mzamywhite

Sending a large box of gently loved children's books, heading your way today! This is awesome! Was fun to go through some of the books that I used to read my boys - made me a little sad *tears* though :)

Cat8lady
Cat8lady

12 books from the Naria series coming from Amazon - 2 copies of each.

Dana Ortegón
Dana Ortegón

Just sent my amazon order. A mix of books my son and daughter have loved this year, and one favorite from my childhood.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Epic...Can't WAIT! Thank you so much.

hskoppek
hskoppek

Congrats, you've done it again bitch. You always stump me with your writing and in your face attitude. I won't send you any books from Holland, but am willing to send you $100 to spend at the Tattered Cover on books. Why I like your initiative, I like your writing and I like The Tattered Cover. Let me know how I can forward the money. (If you don't want to give your int'l bank details to a stranger, I'm willing to pay you in cash some time in May - when I happen to be in the Denver area)

The Redhead
The Redhead

HAH! Yeah, I'm a bitch like that, aren't I? :) Tell you what: you can call the bike shop directly at (303) 495-2477 and they can take the information you need. They may even have a Paypal account that can work! Sound good?

hskoppek
hskoppek

Sounds good. However, I called the number and talked to a women who did not know you or the initiative and asked me to "take me off your list". You want to try again? Maybe provide me with an email address!

hskoppek
hskoppek

I hope we'll connect somehow and I'll trough in a couple of copies of Eagle of The Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff.

The Redhead
The Redhead

drop me a line via the contact form and I'll get you taken care of offline :)

PJ Mullen
PJ Mullen

Well, my son is still busy learning to read them while my daughter is still busy chewing on them, so Amazon it is :)

The Redhead
The Redhead

You're awesome, PJ. We appreciate it so much! Happy teething :)

Susan
Susan

Great post. If I'm in Denver, can I drop books off at TriBella?

The Redhead
The Redhead

You sure can, Susan. Would LOVE to see you at the shop!

Bree Ervin
Bree Ervin

Great idea! My girls just outgrew a level of books for that age group. The box is in the mail! I'll hit up my mom-in-law too, she's a retired 2nd grade teacher and has loads of classroom and early reader books in her garage that I think she's done with. I love seeing awesome people doing awesome things. Thanks for the evening inspiration.

Miss Kemya
Miss Kemya

This is such a great post. I am so moved that I'm mailing you books all the way from Atlanta, GA! I read so much I have to make myself stop, and fortunately my daughter inherited my love of reading. I am happy to help the next generation discover the joy of reading.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Miss Kemya, you rock in SOOO many ways! We'll be looking for your box and thank you from the bottom of our pink gingham hearts that you're reaching out all the way from Atlanta!

Janine
Janine

My favorite Christmas gift last year was a Kindle cover that looks like a Nancy Drew hardcover. I've read a book a day since I was five years old, and I can say it saved my life. And made my life full of joy. Oh, I have Amazon Prime, free shipping! More books for you. Please let us know your grand total when you're done?

The Redhead
The Redhead

Awww - thanks so much, Janine. And I'm with you - don't know where I'd be without books! And we'll certainly post a total for everyone. Today's influx of generosity is overwhelming!

Sheryl
Sheryl

We just cleaned out my son's bookshelf and I have a big bag of books in my Goodwill pile that I will pull out for you. Can I drop them off somewhere? Leave them on your porch?

The Redhead
The Redhead

Sheryl, I'll drop you an email! Thank you!

Valery Satterwhite
Valery Satterwhite

Headed to Amazon right now. No kids at home so no children's books on the shelves except for my coveted Eloise and you'll have to pry that from my cold dead hands before I'll give it up.

Dana Reeves
Dana Reeves

Count me in! I'm hitting up all the moms in my son's PTSA too - will keep you posted!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Entirely grateful! Thank you so much and we look forward to your donation. *Snoopy Dance*

Jenniferhammitt
Jenniferhammitt

We may be able to help (and btw I'm an effing sap reading this as I relate to the dylexia struggles). My mom was a preschool teacher, and I know we still have many of her books. Let me see what I can send your way.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Super duper and THANK YOU! Or should I say, tahnk yuo? :) Appreciate you stopping by today, so very much.