“READING makes me feel happy. I always learn something new.”
So said 11-year-old Kamilaroi boy Michael Sharpley (pictured above) at the launch of our Foundation's key fundraising program, the Great Book Swap.
Michael, who routinely now reads to his baby sister, is just one of the hundreds of city students around the country supporting our major fundraising program by swapping their favourite books for a gold coin donation, to buy books for children in remote communities.
One of 17 Indigenous students who worked on the Deadly Beginnings - Deadly Futures Program at Villawood East Public School in Sydney, Michael was on hand to see Play School presenter and actress Justine Clarke officially launch the 2017 Great Book Swap at the school on Tuesday in front of over 400 people, including the Department of Education's Aboriginal Education Team and local Aboriginal elder, Uncle Harry Allie.
“I’m so proud to be here to launch the national Great Book Swap,” said Justine Clarke to the students, “you all have a very important role.”
The Great Book Swap now in it's seventh year, operates by swapping a favourite book and donating a gold coin to the ILF. Run in hundreds of schools, libraries, universities and businesses across Australia, it helped raise over $160,000 last year and is aiming to top $200,000 this year to buy 20,000 books for remote communities.
ILF Executive Director, Karen Williams, says “The Great Book Swap is a fantastic way to celebrate reading locally, and raise much-needed funds to buy books for remote communities.”
Justine performed a Play School song and story time with one of our publications, The Goanna Was Hungry. A Great Book Swap followed in the playground where students, teachers and guests swapped a favourite book for a gold coin donation to the ILF.
Deadly Beginnings - Deadly Futures Program Project Manager, Julie Bertram, commented: “Running the Great Book Swap for their school has been a rewarding experience for the students, who were excited about helping other children across Australia. They developed leadership and organisational skills in creating advertising materials and speaking in class and feel proud of what they’ve achieved. It has been an empowering experience for them.”
Register by 30 April to hold a Great Book Swap on Indigenous Literacy Day (6 September 2017), for your chance to win some great book prizes!
Image credit Ian Bertram