With plans well underway for what promises to be an exciting, record-breaking event, the Rotary Race to Literacy Book Drive has entered into an unprecedented collaboration with the National Housing Trust (NHT), to hold the week-long Book Drive at Emancipation Park.
The Book Drive, which was recently approved by Guinness World Records™ to attempt to break the current record of 242,624 books collected in seven days, will stage all activities from May 1 to 7 at Emancipation Park, launching with an action-packed weekend. “This initiative is entirely in keeping with everything that the NHT is trying to do,” said Howard Mitchell, chairman of the NHT, “to improve the quality of life of every Jamaican.”
Rotarian Deika Morrison, chair for the project, shared Mitchell’s belief in uniting Jamaican people. “We believe that Emancipation Park is the ideal setting to showcase what Jamaicans can do when they work together, united for positive change,” said, “indeed, literacy itself is empowering.” Morrison expressed that the park would be the central point for all donations, the week of the Drive, as well as counting by the Jamaica Library Service, packing, and storing. She added that the location is also ideal because it enables everyone access to the process, encouraging them to truly feel part of the Drive. “We just want children and families to come out to donate their books, and for children to read, and be read to—to participate in this historic event. It is intended to be a fun and uplifting event for our people, and a demonstration to those overseas about what positive transformative change we can do together.”
In addition, the timing of the Drive is ideal. Coinciding with Rotary’s District 7020 Conference (of which Jamaica is a member), hundreds of Rotarians are expected to be in Kingston that week, representing 10 countries from the region. May is also Child Month; the first week of May is Education Week; and May 4th is Read Across Jamaica Day.
Kicking off the weekend will be two days of fun and surprises for the children, encouraging everyone to come out and donate books. “We cannot do this without the support all Jamaicans,” Morrison stresses. “This really is not just a project that the Rotary Clubs of Jamaica are undertaking, but it’s a project for everyone, a project where each person will benefit.”
For those who cannot physically be at the park, especially those in the Diaspora who have given their support from overseas, the event will be streamed live on the Internet integrated with Facebook and Twitter. “Reading is vital to the national development of any country,” said Robert Mullings, managing partner of Random Media LLC, which manages RealVibez.tv who will providing the live stream, “and being able to use Realvibez to support this historic book drive is the least that we can do. We hope that the live stream will both drive more people to donate and showcase the goodness of Jamaican people all over the world.”
Morrison agrees, “This again, is anther first, and one we are very excited to be undertaking,” she said. “It gives everyone an opportunity to participate in this moment in history—people working together in the service of others and trying to break a record while doing so.”