Los Al’s school-wide book drive

18 clubs across campus are showing how kindness is contagious!
Kindness Club is hoping to prove that one book really can change a life.
Kindness Club is hoping to prove that one book really can change a life.
Nandi Smith via Canva

LOS ALAMITOS, CA – Los Alamitos High School is hosting a student-led, school-wide book drive for the entire month of March. This book drive will be hosted by 18 clubs across campus, led by Kindness Club, the National Honor Society club (NHS), and the California Scholarship Federation club (CSF).

Kindness Club president Zack Dollins came up with the idea of a school-wide book drive when he was considering potential drive options. He chose a book drive because he believes that they are typically overlooked, especially in the case of helping prison programs. In his opinion, school is the best place for the drive to occur because students meet at school every day and can donate spare books they have not touched in a while.

Books really can change lives, and it’s so important for everyone to have equal opportunities to read.”

— Bella Kim, co-president of Literature Appreciation Club

“The hope is that this student-led book drive can become [a] recurring philanthropic action at our school. We hope that each year students at LAHS lead a book drive that brings thousands of books to convicts and members of the unhoused community,” Dollins said. “This year is the first of what will hopefully become numerous years of book drives.”

Along with the three clubs that are leading the book drive, the other 15 clubs part of the book drive are UNICEF, Make a Wish Club, Young Investors Club, Emerging Leaders Club, Math Club, Literature Appreciation Club, Women in STEM, Debate Team, Hydrogen Grand Prix (H2G) club, Computer Science Society, Pickleball Club, Red Cross Club, Japanese Club, Find Your Passion Los Al Club, and Creative Writing Club.

“Literature Appreciation Club ran a couple [of] monthly book drives last semester, and we’re happy to support Zack and Kindness Club in this school-wide book drive,” said co-president of Literature Appreciation Club Bella Kim.

Important details to know 

Students can drop off their donations at the Activities Office throughout the month and can donate as many books as they like that can be of any reading level, but they cannot have topics of gore, violence, or disturbing themes. The book drive is also asking that no academic workbooks, write-in activity books, or children’s books are donated.  

Excluding these small restrictions, these clubs will appreciate any book genre that is donated. Whether it’s a mystery page-turner or a historical fiction novel, any book can change a life. Even donating books that have been worn or stained can be valuable to those in need.

“The goal of donating books is to bring literature to those who have not had plentiful access, or even access at all, throughout their lives,” Dollins said. 

Sean Kim, who is the president of NHS and co-president of CSF, has joined Dollins in leading this drive. He believes that this drive is an incredible opportunity to engage students in volunteerism. 

“What made this project particularly important to me was its mission and vision to not only improve people’s accessibility to books, but also people’s perception about literature,” Sean Kim said. “Especially for the youth, I think reading shouldn’t just be something associated with dreaded school assignments and comprehension tests—it’s an essential tool to building maturity and empathy: two qualities the world needs now more than ever.”

Community service hours opportunity 

The book drive also brings a great opportunity for students to earn volunteer hours. One hour of community service hour credit will be given based on a maximum limit of five books donated. It is important for students to know that there is a five-hour limit for volunteer hours, but students can donate more than five books to the drive. 

The combined members of all 18 clubs have already seen positive results across campus.

“With over 1,900 combined members, CSF and NHS offer the book drive a giant pool of possible volunteers. So far, we’ve been using social media, Google Classroom, and monthly meetings to push the drive out to the school community, and it’s been absolutely incredible,” Sean Kim said. “New donations keep coming in each day, so we hope it keeps up until we deliver everything at the end of March.”

Where will the donated books be going?

All of the donated books will be going to local homeless shelters. The Casa Youth Shelter, Illumination Foundation, Orange County Rescue Mission, and the Los Angeles Prison System will be receiving these books with the hope that the donations will help members of marginalized communities find safety and opportunity through reading. 

“I think donating the books to homeless shelters and the L.A. prison system is a really unique and impactful way to increase availability to literature,” Bella Kim said. 

Along with the drive’s aim to improve accessibility to literature, Sean Kim believes that these donations will also provide substantial contributions to the libraries in these local shelters. It can also serve as a reminder that as a school, we can make a difference to those in need. 

I hope the books can instill confidence in readers to dream big and allow their ambitions some room to grow, free from judgment.”

— Sean Kim, president of NHS and co-president of CSF

At the end of the month, there is hope that hundreds of books will have been donated to aid these shelters. Dollins also explained that other clubs will help transport the books to the three participating shelters, along with the Los Angeles Library, to help donate them through their prison program. 

Please make sure to ask family, neighbors, or anyone else if they have books to spare for this great cause. Even donating one book can make a big difference!

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  • J

    Jaya EapenMar 14, 2024 at 12:07 pm

    I love how this article is structured! It makes it so easy to get information about the book drive! Great job Nandi!

  • Z

    Zack DollinsMar 11, 2024 at 5:35 pm The Griffin Gazette Pick

    Thank you so much for writing this Nandi! Stupendous piece. This book drive, led by a joint coalition of clubs on campus, offers a stupendous opportunity for each and every one us to become little philanthropists. We hold the great privilege of giving the gift of literature to others. In doing so, we can inspire hope and creativity, catalyze intellectual improvement, and offer an escape from both the mundane and the difficult. Every person on this planet deserves equal access to education and literature is one fundamental part of this necessary ambition. Let us change the world for the better. Let us provide opportunity. Let us provide equity. Let us inspire empathy, love, and joy.