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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Libraries, Literacy, Primary & Elementary Schools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement, Special Education

Mission: Bess the Book Bus helps to close the literacy gap created by poverty by building home libraries and excitement for reading in over 25 states across the USA each year. We visit Head Starts, schools, after-school programs and community centers where we read aloud to our kids and give them the opportunity to choose their own new books. We build home libraries and a love for reading in our most underserved communities by making the joy of book ownership a reality for our kids. Bess the Book Bus volunteers and board members envision our hometown of Tampa Bay as one where all of our children have access to the basic resources they need to be successful in school and later in life.

Results: Bess has given away over 500,000 books in 48 states.

Target demographics: Bess the Book Bus is building home libraries and a love for reading across the USA.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 25,000+ kids in over 100 towns across the USA.

Geographic areas served: Bess travels into schools and community centers in underserved neighborhoods across the USA conducting read-alouds and letting our children choose new books to take home and keep. Bess partners with school districts, Head Start facilities, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and community action groups with the mission of elevating and inspiring the imagination of children while giving them access to book ownership.

Programs: Some examples of our 2015/2016 outreach include: BBB partnered with CITGO's Fueling Education and 101.5 Miguel Show's Book Adventures at four area schools. Each student received new books to take home and keep. Holly and Miguel from 101.5 read to the kids and CITGO provided each school with a $1,000 grant. Bess' partnership with the Rays allowed us to give all 1812 School District of Hillsborough County Head Start program students two new books to take home and many of the students received three books. Bess worked with Pi Beta Phi to deliver 1,000 books to local Title 1 Schools as part of their Day of Service. Bess worked with Altrusa International Tampa Bay, the Spurlino Foundation and Publix Super Markets Charities to give books the 21st Century iClass Program at seven schools (Maximo, Melrose, New Heights, Fairmount Park, Campbell Park, North Shore and Lakewood Elementary). These are the schools listed in the Failure Factories articles in the Tampa Bay Times. Bess made 3+ visits to each school site iClass and adjacent YMCA or R’Clubs throughout the year, building home libraries and generating excitement for reading. Bess was was recognized by 21st Century iClass at the Pinellas County Schools annual volunteer recognition breakfast for this collaboration. Bess worked with Florida Impact, a statewide anti-hunger organization focusing on increasing participation in child nutrition programs. Bess made repeat visits at their Hillsborough County BreakSpot sites providing free books to the families attending the lunches.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bess is so much more that the gift that she obviously is. The opportunity to read allows not only one to temporarily travel to another time and place, but the opportunity for growth. Books are not cheap and many people can't afford them. Many times Bess gives children the first book they have ever owned. This resource is not only s physical gift but an emotional one as well. We couldn't thank Jennifer and Bess enough for blessing out school and community!!

1 Freda Horne R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A book opens the door to a new world. It allows us to reimagine our circumstances, to test our personality and our ideas. It makes us who we are, a self that continually develops and gains definition through reading.
One thing that soon becomes clear in Reading is that a humanist love of letters has, for most of our history, been the exception rather than the rule.
The reader would be able to roam about everywhere,thinking for himself and forming his own judgements.We should have a sense that reading and writing threatened extant authority by granting people excessive freedom, cultivating a consciousness of alternative, future possibilities, Bess the Book Bus has a belief in the power of reading, its ability to allow us to reimagine our circumstances, to test our personality and our ideas.What’s very interesting is that the early critics of reading picked up on the fact that reading provides people with a gateway to a different moral world, where alternatives can be countenanced. And therefore reading always poses a threat to the prevailing order.A child that can own a book something to call their own.and learns to read.Has endless opportunities.When you can read you can take so many journeys.Vacations you cannot afford, you can travel where you heart want to take you.Bess The book Bus does that for children and adults.In these time no one should be illiterate,But sadly many are.Bess The Book Bus search the people out and helps them own a part of themselves.Yes ,we have libraries,you may check a book out.But many cannot even afford the I.D. needed for such.a simple thing.I co-wrote a book called Bess The Book Bus with the intent for anyone to understand how valuable the program is for our youth as well as our older adults.I think we all need this to continue.

2 connielvnhgn

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I connected with Bess the Book Bus for the first time through First Book, many years ago. Her charity was still in its infancy but Jenn's commitment to bringing the love of literacy was very apparent. It amazed me how she moved mountains and braved thousands of miles in order to bring books to my school in Oregon. She's been to many more of my schools as I've moved around (I'm an elementary Literacy Coach). I host her at my home and it's always such a pleasure!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bess the Book Bus and Jennifer Frances have visited all the schools that I've worked at in the past 8 years. She has given away close to probably 1,000 books in 3 schools in which I have taught. She does more (almost single-handedly) than some larger organizations. She is extremely accommodating and flexible when it comes to scheduling. My schools have been so appreciative to have her support and generosity. We love Bess & Jenn!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for Bess the Book Bus was wonderful! In 11 days I helped hundreds of kids pick books, and every one of them left the bus excited to read!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having Jenn and Bess the Bookbus visit our library at the end of summer is just terrific! We use her visit to wrap up our summer reading program. Having the kids being able to pick a book off the bus makes that day special for all our readers and readers from our surrounding communities! This year having the drumming program added more excitement to the visit. We are SO hoping this visit becomes an annual event for us. We are lucky to have had Cynthia Lord, a wonderful Maine author, make the connection for us with Jenn and her bus last year!

Amy_297

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to volunteer many times for Bess the Book Bus. Watching what Jennifer does first hand is a magical, inspiring and heart warming experience. I must admit that I've had to hide my tears on that bus a few times when i watch child after child light up when they realize that this brand new book that they have chosen is there's to keep! Jenn is a brilliant story teller, an amazing woman and has created such a wonderful non-profit company. Bess is the little bus that could. I can't imagine a child not owning a book. Jennifer not only makes that happen but through her fantastic story telling, she encourages a natural love for reading. Go Bess!