On Saturday October 11, First State Robotics, Inc. (FSR), in a unique partnership with the Delaware literacy organization Success Won’t Wait, collected over 14,000 lbs. (7 tons) of used books as part of the annual Miracle of Reading Education Book Drive at the Duel on the Delaware robotics competition. “This was the single largest book drive in our history,” says Success Won’t Wait co-founder and President Susan McNeill. “To give a visual idea of the magnitude of this drive, we collected a mountain of books that was the approximate weight equivalent of two full-grown Asian elephants!”
The Duel on the Delaware event showcases the engineering abilities of 350 high school students from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia in an annual robotics competition. And, in addition to building working robots, the 20+ teams collected books for the fifth annual community service competition.
The addition of a community service element to the day’s events was the brainchild of Duel on the Delaware event organizer and Miracle Workerz team mentor John Larock. The Miracle Workerz team wanted to develop a donation event which was competitive and also connected with their other literacy programs. Teams attending the robotics competition were asked to donate books with the team donating the most weight in books winning the challenge.
The winning team, Chuck #84, from Towanda, Pennsylvania collected an astounding 7,000+ lbs. of books for the competition. The team received the 2008 Community Service trophy and a check for a $50 refund of their robotics competition entry fee. 1st runner up was Team #423 (SEC Robotics) from Springfield, Pennsylvania, collected over 3,500 lbs of books and received a trophy. The 2nd runner up, Team #1712 (Dawgma) from Ardmore, Pennsylvania, collected over 22,000 lbs of books. “I’m amazed at how teams have really stepped up to the plate and doubled their book donation from last year,” Larock said.
Although the books have not yet been completely counted, a preliminary estimate based on random sampling indicates that 28,000 to 35,000 books were collected at the event. “These books will make a real difference to the communities we serve,” explains Success Won’t Wait Vice President and co-founder Vincenza Carrieri-Russo.
Books collected at the event include everything from pre-K board books, to children’s pictures books, to novels for junior and senior high school aged children, to popular adult fiction from best selling authors like Grisham, Patterson, or Grafton.
“Throughout the year, we communicate with the teams to update them on our projects and share with them where the books are placed. This year, we had a tremendous need for children’s books, and the teams really focused on those,” explains McNeill.
Throughout the year, the group will complete a variety of literacy programs including the distribution of children’s book baskets, the development of independent libraries, support of local libraries, and large-scale book donations to various community groups and organizations. Founded in 2002 by friends Susan McNeill and Vincenza Carrieri-Russo with a sole basket of books, the organization has grown dramatically and over the years has collected close to 200,000 books for redistribution.
Founded in 2002, Success Won’t Wait, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit literacy organization based in Wilmington, Delaware. Want to learn more about Success Won’t Wait’s literacy projects, how to donate used books in Delaware, or volunteer your time? Click on the About Us tab to learn more.
Read now, because success won’t wait!