Last week we got the cutest cocodot invite for a 3 year old Milk + Bookies birthday party. What a cute name and great idea... I had to learn more! I immediately headed to the Milk + Bookies website. Meredith Alexander and her partners are not only inspiring parents, but they're teaching young "future philanthropists" the importance of giving.
Read! Give! Grow!
By Meredith Alexander
As a new mom, I didn't want to spend EVERY weekend going to birthday parties and soccer games with my kids. I was hungry for meaningful experiences with my small children, experiences that would reinforce the values that our family feels strongly about (like giving back and reading).
In 2004, I decided it would be fun to throw a party, which I named "Milk + Bookies", at the local children's bookstore, Storyopolis, and invite all our friends with kids. Once there, we asked the kids to choose a book that they would want to give to a local child without any bedtime stories. We then asked the young guests to inscribe a bookplate (most of the kids could only scribble with a crayon), stick it in the book and then drop that book into a box for a local recipient group.
We had milk and cookies and story readings - it was fantastic! When the check out line had a 30 minute wait to buy books, I knew I was on to something and that other families were looking for theses kinds of experiences as well.
Zoom ahead four years. After hosting Milk + Bookies parties biannually, I knew it was time to grow. I brought on two of my smartest friends, Laura Zimmerman and Heidi Lindelof. Luckily for me, they had no idea what we were getting in to so they said yes to sitting on the Board of Directors. We applied for a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt statues, built a website, created models for birthday parties, class projects and book fairs. Then, we went national!
The Milk + Bookies mission is to recreate the experience (choosing, inscribing and giving) as much as possible so that kids get switched on the amazing power of giving and how great it makes them feel. We hope that it will set them on a path to a life of giving/ helping/ sharing in ALL ways. The exciting by-product of our movement is getting thousands of books into the hands of kids who really want (and need) them.
To date, we have raised over 20,000 books and inspired over 4,000 young "future philanthropists".
Read! Give! Grow!
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