Small & Schena LLP recently teamed up with the San Diego chapter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's General Alumni Association and others to volunteer with Traveling Stories - a San Diego nonprofit committed to fighting global poverty with reading.
Attorneys William Small and John Schena are both graduates of UNC and worked with the alumni association's local chapter to find a charitable cause to serve in connection with UNC's Tar Heel Service Day, which encourages UNC alumni across the country (and world) to volunteer and serve in their communities. Together with Compassion It (another San Diego nonprofit founded by UNC alumna Sara Schairer), they decided to volunteer with Traveling Stories.
Traveling Stories was formed in 2010 and aims "to outsmart poverty one book at a time and inspire a love for reading everywhere." The basic idea is to encourage literacy among impoverished children in order to self-empower them to overcome some of the challenges they will inevitably face in life. A great online article about the organization (with awesome illustrations) can be found here on Medium.
Traveling Stories has founded several libraries in "book-poor" communities around the world, including El Transito, Nicaragua; Nimule, South Sudan; and at four shelters for young girls who have escaped the sex trade in the Philippines. And turning its attention to home, Traveling Stories regularly sets up "Story Tents" in San Diego, usually at farmers markets, where books are loaned to children and they are provided a fun, comfortable environment to read with Traveling Stories volunteers. To encourage reading at the tents, volunteers hand out "Book Bucks" (think Monopoly money) to the kids when they finish reading; the kids can then exchange the Book Bucks for small toys, school supplies, etc.
For Tar Heel Service Day, Small & Schena LLP and the UNC alumni chapter raised funds to purchase and donate Book Bucks prizes to Traveling Stories. In addition, attorneys William Small and John Schena and members of the local UNC alumni chapter and Compassion It volunteered and read with children at the City Heights Farmers Market Story Tent. We had so much fun - and were so impacted by the cause and the children we met - that we read with the kids again the next weekend and plan to volunteer more in the future.
We encourage anyone reading this to check out the website of Traveling Stories (you can also find them on Twitter) and consider volunteering at one of the Story Tents. It is an amazing organization making a positive impact on needy children in our community and indeed across the world.
Cover Image Credit: Vita Thomsen/norden.org [CC-BY-2.5-dk (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/dk/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons