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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

In2Books (ePals Foundation)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Children & Youth, Education, Literacy, Primary & Elementary Schools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: To help all children become curious, independent learners and receive the support they need to realize their full academic and personal potential. Children who can not read proficiently by the end of the 3rd grade are are more likely to drop out of school and face diminished life prospects. Students in low income neighborhoods are at the greatest disadvantage in developing these skills. In2Books was founded in 1998 to help students during this critical period by providing innovative curricula, professional development, and engaging business and civic community members as adult mentors.

Target demographics: 3rd-6th grade Title I elementary school classrooms

Community Stories

170 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a recently retired educator, I was looking for a way to continue working with children in a cooperative, supportive manner. I discovered In2Books during an online volunteer search, and have been with the program for two years. The online support enables anyone with an interest in literature to be successful while helping a child to explore the different genres of books. The letter writing process is easy to folllow and allows you to share your opinions and reactions to the assigned readings. It's always exciting to receive a letter from your student and to read their thoughts and questions. I can highly recommend this program as a way to support children and foster a lifelong love of reading!

Chris68

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i think this is a great program for both the student and the adult . it shows the adult leadership for the student as they are helping the students learn better creativity .

Lorraine M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The opportunity to share a reading experience with a youngster in a secure enviroment is the reason that I have returned each year to participate in the In2Books program. The insights the youngsters bring to each new book are inspirational. They amaze me at times. I most appreciate that teachers are totally involved in the program, committed to ensuring that students get the assignment done, communicating with us, the volunteers, reviewing what we write to their student and what is sent to us. Those who participate seem excited to be part of In2Books. I know that I am.

Joyce11

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was able to step in as a volunteer/mentor with a student mid-school year when her original mentor needed to leave for personal reasons. I was very impressed that in2books would do this; and not leave a young person hanging w/o a mentor while the rest of her classmates continued in the program! Though my tenure has been short, I had the opportunity to connect and care about an adolescent - which wouldn't have happened without in2books. In addition, the focus was on reading, learning, critical thinking, personal opinions, and the ability to convey thought in a cohesive manner; all the while incorporating technology. Does it get any better?? Thank you for your consideration of in2books!

Susan111

Volunteer

Rating: 4

With In2Books, I was matched with a student. The student chose a book we would both read together. After we read the book, the student and I would write letters about it to each other. Since I was connected with the same student over the course of a school year, we read 5 books together. Over that time, we got to know each other a bit by sharing information about ourselves. A connection was made and the volunteering fit my busy schedule while promoting reading and writing skills.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I wanted to make a difference in a child's schooling and this program did just that! I work many hours and have a non-stop schedule, but with this reading program, you can fit it in anytime! I'm up extremely early and could fit in reading the books required for the class and respond when I wanted to. Early morning, daytime, late night, whenever. With the future being so dependent on computer based knowledge, I felt this program is helping those students who otherwise would not have access to a computer. It's teaching them about email and the fact that their penpal cares enough to communicate with them.G Great program!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In2Books is such a wonderful program for children who don't have the opportunity to have someone read with them. It helps them think about what they read, which in turns makes them actually read the book and think about what they want to write about the story. This is important for the learning skills that are needed in their future! I am proud to be involved with In2Books!

swentek

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved witn ePals as a teacher for over ten years. My students have been penpals with other students in classrooms around the world through ePals. The experience(s) afforded the students have been wonderful. The last four years I have been fortunate to work with In2Books. The In2Books adult mentor/literacy program is incredible. Through reading books of different genres and "discussing" the books with an adult mentor, students are exposed to literature and critical-thinking skills that are truly life-changing. In2Books is a well-conceived program of literary enrichment for students everywhere.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have been blessed to be a member of In2Books for three years and their program offering enriching literature books to students with penpal mentors is phenomenal. I teach low-income students in an inner-city school...the students don't have much and have even fewer enrichment opportunities. In2Books has procured funding to supply brand new FREE books to my students! Five free books each year AND an adult mentor to interact with by email about each book is an invaluable asset to my students. They not only are stimulated by the literature, they are ennobled and encouraged by their adult mentors.

Robben W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My pen pal and I had a very positiver inter-action and communication. Our exporation of her interests expanded into a diverse source of educational material. Her comments in response to my feedback helped to develop a learning experience, that was filled with learning and motivational strategies.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I love writing letters with my elementary school pen pals. We read the same books (which I get from the library - no cost and little hassle) and exchange letters outlining our experience of book, plus little bits about our daily lives (like loving soccer or playing in the snow). I have a great time reading the books, writing my letters, and - of course - reading the letters I receive from my pen pal.

Nikki M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the most wonderful experience with In2Books. I was quickly paired with a young girl named Hanna. We chatted about all kinds of different books and we chatted about our personal lives. I live in Georgia and she lived out west somewhere and we compared our weather a lot! We both really enjoyed our reading assignment, "Who was Albert Einstein?" I made sure that I asked a lot of open ended questions and not just yes or no questions. I do think that we need to work on communication with the teachers better. I had no idea when she got out of school and we did not get to say good bye.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm an Emergency Department Nurse and often on days off just want to fall back on a bit of quiet. If you have a job like mine, or if you are a bit of an introvert and want to volunteer "quietly", then In2Books is perfect. This is also the perfect job for a senior who can't get out much, or for someone who lives remotely or who is unable to volunteer in a more traditional way. As an In2Books volunteer I know I make a difference when I write to my pen pal, and I can volunteer when I have a break in my very crazy schedule. It is about books, of course, but it is giving a fellow reader a chance to formulate and share their ideas, and about giving a young person some personalized attention and support and encouragement. I have been an In2Books volunteer for 3 years now, and can't wait for year 4 to begin. I get much, much, much more from my pen pals than they get from me. Think you can't find time to volunteer? Wrong again---there is always time to virtual volunteer, and In2Books is one of the best examples. We all need to give back, because we are all given in some way. Sincerely, Susan Dungan

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have participated in In2books for three years now. Its user friendly, fun, and I believe it truly helps build literacy in the classroom. It's exciting to recieve your pen-pal at the begining of each year and share your thoughts and feelings on books throughout the year. On a personal level this program has ecouraged me to read books outside of my favorite genres and I hope its doing the same for the children. I highly reccomend this program!

Sharon41

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In2Books is a wonderful nonprofit organization that matches up grade school students to adult mentors. The students and mentors read and share their thoughts and ideas about the book they have read, through the exchange of letters over the secured site. I as a mentor, really enjoyed getting to know my student and exchange letters with her.

Michelle77

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I really enjoyed participating in In2Books. It was awesome being able to mentor a child in another state. I had a great time purchasing the books and interacting with the child I was given. The letters were awesome as well. I always looked forward to reading them and I hope she enjoyed reading mine as well. I would definitely participate in this program again. It's a great program, and it benefits the children who are involved on a level any child would enjoy.

Edwin M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was a great opportunity getting to know the students in this program. There were two students that I worked with, and we read stories together and sent pen-pal letters to each other. I shared my experience and insight into the books, and it was rewarding reading the experiences of the students.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I stumbled across In2books and figured I would give it a try. I am constantly reading and encouraging my children to read. I am even in the process of completing my degree in English so that I can encourage more children to enjoy reading. I have now completed two years of volunteering for IN2Books and I have loved every minute of it, the joy I get when I receive a letter from my pen pal is overwhelming. I hope and wish more and more people would donate, volunteer, and support such a great program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found out about In2Books several years ago when reading a magazine about volunteer opportunities. I joined and have been so impressed with their program. They matched me up with a little boy and we read books together and then wrote letters back and forth. It was wonderful. We had a great time. I have done this since 2009 and have enjoyed every minute. The kids are great and the teachers are very helpful when you need them. The site is very user friendly and I have been able to get all the books through the library. All in all, this has been a fabulous experience and I plan to continue for years. It's really fun.

Paulina A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think this organization is well organized and its purposes are goodhearted.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I loved being a mentor for a young child. Being able to make a difference in someone's life is indescribable. I am ready to participate again. The coordination between a child and a mentor is in need of improvement. In some cases while I read one book, the child appear to read another. I hope to see an improvement in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was partnered with a student and we read books at the same time. We then exchanged letters, via the organization's website, discussing the books. I saw a great improvement in my student's ability to think and write cohesively during the course of the school year. And, because the books are geared to young readers, participating didn't take much of my time. I even learned myself from the topics of the books!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I loved volunteering with In2Books. It was a really great experience. I looked forward to each email from my student and really enjoyed the books he chose. I would definitely recommend volunteering with them to my friends!

Jason27

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I was really excited about this project at first, believing that I could make a difference in a young student's life. However, it took months before I was "matched" with a student. I put the word matched in quotes, because I only became aware of the students letter in Feb 2012, but learned she had sent it in Dec 2011. I was never notified by the site in Dec that I had received a match. I reached out to the student again, and to her teacher and sent 3 emails between Feb and Mar 2012, none of which were ever returned, and, for all I know, ever received. I felt the entire program is disorganized, and worse, I felt I let the student down because of it. The program, in my experience, deserves 1 star, but I felt that would be a little too heartless, given its positive intentions.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I found the In2Books experience to be personally satisfying to me. I enjoyed corresponding with my student. I know that this program makes a difference in the the lives of these students and greatly benefits their studies. The teachers also appreciated the extra attention we were able to provide.

Sandi6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for In2books is a wonderful opportunity for people to make a difference in the lives of children helping them to better understand what they are reading as they create written narratives about those aspects of the stories they relate to. It gives them the ability to interact one on one with another adult who can bring new perspectives into their reading experience and help bolster their confidence in innumerable ways. Perhaps one of the better features of the program is that communication is done via Internet so the volunteer is able to work together with the child long distance, each reading the story and responding within a specific timeframe that is flexible for both parties.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In2Books gave me an opportunity to make a new friend and share experiences while reading books together. This was my first year as a volunteer, but their website offered a variety of resources to help new volunteers correspond effectively with their student pen pal. The only problem that I had was that it took longer than expected for me to be paired up with a student. The teachers mentioned that the students looked forward to letters from their mentor pen pals, but I was just as excited each time I received one from my student! It reminded me of when I waited for letters from pen pals as a child - before electronic communication came along.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was a most rewarding experience to help a student by being a pen pal. We got to know each other and review the books we read together. I would recommend this volunteer project as a unique experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This past year, as a volunteer with In2Books, I served as a"e-pal" or mentor to a 3rd grader in Illinois. I read the same books she was reading in her class and then we e-mailed each other, discussing the books. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and felt I was contributing to "Veronica's" understanding and enjoyment of each book. She certainly contributed to mine! We were able to build a relationship simply by e-mailing notes to each other throughout the school year. We started recommending other books to each other and she has shown me some new gems of children's literature. What I enjoyed most, however, was seeing Veronica develop critical thinking, as we discussed the chooses made by various characters in the books we read. She was very critical of the poorer choices, but eventually could understand why the character might have made that choice. We discussed similar choices relevant to her own life, and I hope when she is faced with serious choices, she is able to maintain her strong sense of justice while tempering it with empathy for others' points of view. I want to thank In2Books for allowing me to make a small impact on a child's life!!

Crystal15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is nice to that I can help get kids into reading.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with In2Books was a very rewarding experience. It allowed me to make a connection with a child through reading which is something I already love to do. Not only did I help my pen pal with her reading comprehension, we formed a friendship and each of us looked forward to hearing from one another. I don't always have as much free time as I would like to dedicate to volunteering, but participating with In2Books was easy because I could do it from my home. The friendship I formed through this expereince was invaluable and I would definitely recommend particpating to anyone who wants to make a difference in a child's life.

Laurie19

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have truly enjoyed my experience with In2Books. For the past few years I have met and corresponded with a new pen pal each year and shared a love of books with them. It is always fun to hear what the students think about the book and what questions and comments they form after reading a story. If I could make one bit of advice to In2Books it would be to find a way for volunteers to have access to the chosen books without having to purchase the book. There have been times when neither of the 3 libraries I have access to have had the book and I have been forced to purchase it. Having no young children of my own this has not been something I wished to do. Another problem with having to purchase the books is that many volunteers such as myself are on tight budgets. If In2Books would make an electronic copy available of the books the student chooses I'm sure many volunteers would appreciate it. The organization addresses a real need in the community by encouraging young people to read and providing mentoring support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A year ago I was looking for a way that I could give back to the community and make a difference at the same time. As I was searching the web I came across ePals Foundation and found out about In2Books. In2Books is a program that matches volunteers with young students to help improve their reading skills. You are matched with a student and you keep in touch by In2Books email. The student chooses a book and you get the same book to read. The topics of the books varies through different genres and you read 6 books throughout the school year. After you have read the book, you write to the student regarding the book and the student writes back to you. In2Books provides some information and questions to focus on you writing to the student. You decorate the letter and the student also responds to you with a decorated letter. At first I was wary about the process of having a back ground check and being approved. After calling the In2Books program I was able to ask questions and any reservations I had went out the door. The process of having a pen pal throughout the year where I was able to read books and share my love for reading was rewarding for me. I thought that I would be giving only, but I have to say that I received so many rewards. I was able to read some books that I have never read before. I learned about Tsunamis and what to do in case of natural disasters. I also have never known anything about pyramids and Egyptians, but was introduced to the topic through the book and letters with my ePal. I take the time to tell others about the program every chance I get. It is such a worthy cause to encourage children to enjoy reading, write and develop their thinking skills. It also gave me the chance to read children books that I never read before. I think that it is a volunteer opportunity to provided me with the ability to give back while enjoying one of my favorite pastime, reading.

Carol55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an in2books volunteer for two years and think it is by far the best volunteer experience I have ever had. As an avid reader I love connecting with a child over a book they selected. It is so much fun to hear their perspective on things they've read. The most rewarding part for me is to see the progress in their letters from the beginning of the school year to the end. I've witnessed both of my pen palls make great developments in their communication skills. It also feels good to let them know their is an adult out there who in interested in their opinion and cares about what they think. The fact that I can do all of this from the comfort of my home is the icing on the cake. In2books is an amazing experience that I highly recommend!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just spent the school year sharing books read with a 3rd grader 4 states away. He was bright, funny and very enthusiastic about the books we read and the letters we exchanged. This has been one of the greatest experiences I have been honored to be a part of. In2books not only encourages children to read and improve their comprehension skills, but it helps them learn to communicate effectively and to see others opinions, thoughts and points of view too. I absolutely love this program!

Bonny F.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a retired reading specialist...I enjoy sharing a self choice book with a student and "discuss" the book elements together. We, also, share a limited about of personal perspective about the characters and situations. With the cut backs in time spent with interacting together, this is a valuable time. My only problem with the program is the lack of computer time these students get. It would be so wonderful for them to more access to technology...either through additional computers or the addition of tablets! I recommend this program and hope to see it grow.