The San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) Foundation is expanding its support of student experiences in SAISD through Book Buddies, a program providing free books for SAISD students in grades PK-8, allowing them to start and grow their own home libraries. Key highlights:
- Port San Antonio has generously donated the new space for receiving and sorting books, located at 311 North Frank Luke Drive.
- In the 2020-21 School Year, Book Buddies will expand to distribute over 100,000 books to over 16,000 students in 35-plus schools (up from 65,000 books and 11,000 students at 20 schools in 2019).
- In the summer of 2020, Book Buddies partnered with the SAISD transportation and library services department for a “Roll into Reading” tour, distributing over 16,000 books at all 70 meal distribution sites to families living in the District.
- Volunteer sorting sessions take place Saturday mornings throughout the year; to learn more and sign up see https://saisdfoundation.com/book-buddies
- Since 2017 the international book reseller, Better World Books, has donated tens of thousands of books, which volunteers sort and box up for distribution. In summer 2020, Literati Books donated thousands of books for the summer tour.
- Book Buddies is supported by The Texas Cavaliers and The Harvey Najim Foundation.
- Founded in 2014 by Jane Welch, Book Buddies was adopted in 2019 by the SAISD Foundation.
As a Title I school district, nearly 90% of SAISD students are economically disadvantaged – almost double the poverty rate when compared to the average Texas student. Many come from homes with few or no books. In past years, Book Buddies’ annual “Book Celebrations” provided books to each child in many of these schools. In the 2020-21 school year, the program is expanding to serve more students by increasing the frequency of distributions and number of schools served. By providing books at key breaks – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and Summer Break – Book Buddies is helping kids start and grow their own home libraries and building a love of literacy.
“We are thrilled that Book Buddies is now a program of the SAISD Foundation and look forward to expanding to serve even more students across San Antonio ISD. By providing books before key breaks, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and Summer Break, Book Buddies is helping kids start and grow their own home libraries and fostering a life-long love of reading. Thank you to Port San Antonio for donating a beautiful sorting facility, to The Texas Cavaliers and the Najim Charitable Foundation for generously supporting Book Buddies, to Better World Books and Literati for donating books, and to the many volunteers who make this program possible.”
– Judy Geelhoed, executive director, SAISD Foundation
“Like educators throughout our community, we want to ensure that we inspire and prepare our young people and connect them with exciting opportunities in their future educational and career paths. This program is a terrific way to achieve just that. By directly reaching out to thousands of students and encouraging reading, the Book Buddies team is an essential partner in building a strong foundation by engaging our next generation of innovators and other creative thinkers. We are very proud to support this effort.”
– Jim Perschbach, president and CEO, Port San Antonio
“At the Najim Charitable Foundation we are proud to support endeavors that ensure all children have access to a high-quality education and the tools that help support them along the way. We know how important it is that kids living in poverty have access to the same resources and experiences as those with more means. We also know that children that get to choose and keep their own books are more likely to love reading, setting them on a path to become life-long learners. We are proud to support Book Buddies, a Program of the SAISD Foundation, and help enable all kids in SAISD to become proud book owners, regardless of their family’s financial situation.”
– Harvey E. Najim and the Najim Charitable Foundation
“The Texas Cavaliers are proud to support Book Buddies and its important mission of providing children with books to read. Reading is vital to childhood development and unlocks learning potential so children can learn and thrive in education and life.”
– Phil P. Bakke, King Antonio XCVIII
The SAISD Foundation is a public charity dedicated to supporting students and teachers in San Antonio ISD.