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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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

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Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

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