Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Stephanie (17) of the Bronx, New York worked with her school’s United Nations Committee on a project called Little Free Library. The nonprofit’s mission is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges. Stephanie and the UN Committee believe students often feel segregated and pre-emotively judged. As a result of her project, students will be encouraged to read and expand their knowledge by using the Little Free Library.
- How many volunteers participated in your project? How many hours did it involve? 22 volunteers
- What did you learn from this experience? This experience taught me to be persistent and never give up. It was a little difficult due to the number of setbacks I and the UN group encountered, from cancelled meetings to pushed back dates. The benefit we knew this project would bring to our community was all the motivation needed to push forward. I also learned that having connections will help the process become easier. For example, when I had some difficulty reaching out to a City Council Member, little did I know, Isabel (one of my advisors) had a close connection with the council member’s assistant, making communication more direct and rapid.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? This project will have an impact on not only the literacy and vocabulary of the current generation but also the older and younger ones in the community. Relationships will be created with the simple act of recommending books and giving testimonies on how one can relate to different life experiences.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. So far, the project is so close to being completed. Because the library is being plotted into a street level community garden, the stand the library stands on needs to be cut in half because the street level community garden has soil as high as two feet and the stand needs to go down 4 feet. We cannot go directly into concrete, therefore we are working on getting the stand cut.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? Honestly, I cannot be more grateful for the Karma for Cara microgrant. The microgrant has been a major part of this project. It has made the process go 10, 20, 30 times faster. My advisor, Josh Williams, was able to purchase the little libraries, the stands and logos which gave me the ability to consider locations for the libraries instead of worrying about the little libraries themselves.The boost of the microgrant set the road for me in making the impact I wanted in the community.