Success Stories

The POP Project is very proud of the role we play within our community. Here are just a few things people have had to say about the impact our books have made to their programs, students, clients, and communities across Western North Carolina.

“Our donated Little Free Library and books are an amazing addition to our school! The first books I notice that are gone from the Little Free Library are the preschool-type books. That makes me excited to know that our community is reading to these little ones and we will get students who have been read to early. That makes the biggest difference to a child’s early education—in and out of school! I have had lots of compliments from our students and their parents and some have even donated boxes of their own books they are no longer reading. I am so grateful for the POP Project choosing our school to have a Little Free Library—it has truly made a difference to our school and children!”

Caryn Levy

Teacher-Librarian, Leicester Elementary

“At our last Homework Diner, a little 6th grade boy was OVERJOYED to find his favorite book among the collection. They happened to be reading the book in class, but the students were not able to take the book home. He was wide-eyed and telling everyone, ‘This is my FAVORITE book! Now I have a copy for school AND home!'”

Resource Coordinator, United Way Homework Diners

“Have no doubt your work and wonderful books are changing lives. Today, a mom brought her autistic son to the market. He has never come in before. She brought him late so that he would not become upset. He found a chalkboard and wandered/darted about a bit until I realized that the books had already been put away for the day.

“I asked this disconnected boy if he liked books, and he quickly nodded and made eye contact. We pulled out the children’s books we still have (only a dozen or so) and I gave him a bag to put his choices in. Mom plopped down beside him and they carefully examined the books and selected the ones he liked. He left with a smile on his face – and a big smile on Mom’s face. His first trip into our church and to the market was a success!

“This mom works hard and struggles to meet daily needs. These new books for her child were a wonderful gift! Thank you!”

Jan Ianniello

Coordinator, Free Community Meal and Market, Candler

“Thank you so much for the goodie bag of books! As a new teacher, there is nothing I want more than a great selection in the library for my students. I appreciate so much what you are doing to help provide teachers with wonderful texts that our students can really get excited about reading!”

Shannon Reyes

4th Grade, Candler Elementary

“Before we got connected with the POP Project, the bookshelf at our A HOPE Day Center was pretty bare. A HOPE serves about 200 homeless people every single day of the year who come in to take showers and use the telephone and work with staff on getting into permanent housing. They also come in for respite and community and to spend some time in a positive place with people who care about them.

“Thanks to the POP Project, that care includes access to books that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Many of our clients visit the library to use their computers, but they’re often unable to check out books due to accumulated late fees or lost library cards. Because of the POP Project, they can take books from A HOPE, and either bring them back, pass them on, or keep them for themselves. Reading provides a great escape from the grind of homelessness and can offer moments of peace in an otherwise turbulent experience.

“At Homeward Bound, we fully believe that homelessness is a community-wide problem that requires a community-wide solution, and that the most effective way to solve that problem is for everyone in our community to play the part that’s best for them – we’re so grateful to the POP Project for doing exactly that!”

Emily Ball

Director of Community Engagement, Homeward Bound of Asheville

“My name is Anna Gettles and I am an AmeriCorps VISTA with United Way. I served at Enka Middle School this year as the Community Engagement Coordinator, bringing community resources into the school and increase family and community engagement.

“My co-VISTA, Kristen Muscaro, and I wanted to pass along our gratitude and appreciation for the POP project. We had the privilege of working with Janine Obee [with POP], who provided books to Enka Middle’s teachers, students and families during the school year. She was absolutely amazing! We would pass along book requests to her and she always came back with the request and much more! In early April, Janine came to one of our Family Nights and handed out 200 books to students and their siblings. It was one of our most popular events of the entire school year and we received great feedback from the attendees.

“My term of service ends August 8th, but I will definitely be putting my replacement in contact with Janine with hopes to further collaborate and partner this upcoming school year. Thank you so much for doing what you do—access to books and literature is desperately needed. It’s so important for parents and families to be invested in their students literacy as it has been proven 100 times over how powerful it can be in a young person’s life and the effect it has on their future!”

Anna Gettles

Community Engagement Coordinator, Community School Project at Enka Middle School

“With the lack of funds [at Pisgah Elementary], teachers have been able to select POP books to add to their classroom libraries. Janine has collected many award winning and popular books the  students enjoy reading. Pisgah also has a used bookstore where students can trade books or spend their Pisgah Pride tickets they have earned for good behavior. The bookstore, run by 5th graders, is open twice a week and is always crowded with ‘customers’. Several of our regular customers have been students who have struggled to learn to read and don’t have the finance to buy new books. Seeing those customers makes me know the bookstore is worth it. At the end of year, each student gets to select a book from the bookstore to keep for their home library and use for summer reading.

“Janine has also helped collect the books kept in a good condition to use as a birthday gift for each student. This year was the first year I announced the birthdays for the month. By the middle of the year, students kept asking me when I was going to announce the birthday books for the month they were born. Janine has also collected kids magazines to give away for summer reading and board books for our future Pisgah students. My goal is to have an infant, toddler and preschool information station and free books in the foyer of our school.

“Without the supply of these books, we could not make all of these programs run.  Thank so much to the POP Project board and the hard work of the volunteers, especially Janine.”

Heather Merritt

Title 1 Coordinator, Pisgah Elementary School