She wanted to collect 250 books for kids in need — and went way, way over her goal.

Julia Foos saw a need in her community, so she decided to fill it.

For the 17-year-old bookworm, the idea that some kids don’t have any books of their own is unfathomable — and unacceptable. When Foos was 14 and a freshman in high school, she read an article about how many children in the Cleveland area don't have easy access to books. That reality lit a fire in her to do something.

"I think that kids who don't have access to books are missing out on opportunities to learn new things, explore different worlds, and increase the use of their imagination," says Foos. "Books can pull you into another world or teach you things you might never have thought of before."


Foos couldn't imagine having grown up without books, so she decided to help kids in the Cleveland area get books of their own.

So excited to be working on a special project this month! At the end of March I am donating a bookcase filled with...

Posted by Books Offer Opportunities for Kids on Thursday, March 1, 2018

Her Books Offer Opportunities for Kids (BOOK) project has collected and donated 25,000 books — in just three years.

"When I started this project, my goal was to collect 250 books," says Foos. "I reached out to family and friends, and after two weeks, I had collected over 500. It felt good and I thought that if I collected that many in two weeks, I wanted to try to collect more."

She set an ambitious goal to collect 25,000 books — a hundred times her original goal — by her senior year. She reached it a year early. Her secret? A personal touch. Foos reaches out to individuals, schools, and organizations and asks for donations of new or gently used books.

One she gets them, she passes them on to literacy organizations like Reach Out and Read, Cleveland Kids' Book Bank, and United Way's Stuff the Bus with Books campaign. "I wanted to get as many books as possible to kids who needed them. I donate the books to nonprofits that share this same mission."

Reading to kids and helping them pick out books to keep is the best. They get so excited to get books of their own!

Posted by Books Offer Opportunities for Kids on Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Foos engages with the community she's serving — by reading with them, of course.

When she first started her project, it was just about collecting and donating books. But now she's started seeing the fruits of her labor firsthand.

"Over the past year, I began having events where I had contact with the kids who needed books," says Foos. "Their reactions were truly heartwarming. They were so excited to realize that they could pick out whatever books they wanted, as many as they wanted, that they were free, and that they could keep all of them. They couldn't believe it and it made me so happy! I was also able to read with kids, which I absolutely loved."

Teens can do amazing things when they are informed and encouraged.

Foos is making a measurable difference in her community with BOOK. Cleveland has one of the lowest literacy rates in the nation, and according to the Children's Literacy Foundation, 61% of low-income children in the U.S. grow up without any books in their home.

Foos became aware of the need, then she took the initiative to do something, even a modest something, to help remedy it. With encouragement from her parents and others in the community, she has exceeded even her own expectations — and she's not done. She hopes to collect 10,000 more books next year.

This generation of young people just keeps showing up and showing us what they're capable of.

A big THANK YOU to Homa Bash WEWS for helping me share my passion for reading!! Had a great time yesterday!

Posted by Books Offer Opportunities for Kids on Wednesday, June 27, 2018
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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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via Twitter

Sportswriter and podcaster Spencer Hall shared a 1994 photo of the Eagles on Twitter Wednesday and it made anyone who lived through the '90s cringe. "Try to find a worse-dressed band than the 1994 edition of the Eagles, it's not possible," he captioned the photo.

The photo looks like the epitome of 1994 mall fashion. It reeks of "Melrose Place," The Gap, and Anchor Bay. What's worse is that it appears as though the 40-somethings in the photo are trying to look like a hip, flannel-wearing grunge band of the time, minus the edge.

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