The annual Books & Beyond opening celebration this past Thursday was a complete success. Despite the cold rain outside, TEAM school students, Global Villagers, and members from the Indiana University and Bloomington communities came out and filled Max’s Place with warm chatter and laughter.
With the lovely Lana Wingham emceeing the event, everyone in Max’s Place heard first-hand accounts from TEAM school students who have participated in Books & Beyond, sharing their personal reasons for choosing to be writing partners for “The World is Our Home.” Lana described the importance the project holds for her, choking up when she reflected on memories from the trip to Newark.
Later in the evening Chelsea Skovoran presented and detailed her first visit to Rwanda this past summer to pass out the newest copy of the anthology. She recalled the excitement of one seven-year-old girl who couldn’t sit still until she got her book— when the girl finally had it in her hands, she hugged it as closely as she could. That moment proved how Books & Beyond changes lives on all sides of the project: Chelsea changed her major to incorporate education once she saw first-hand the joy a new book brings for the Kabwende students.
Support from the IU community came in the form of representatives from various campus organizations. The Spirit of IU encouraged Books & Beyond participants to “describe their story in eight words or less” and RPS revealed a surprise for the project, a generous donation to Books & Beyond.
The night finished thanking all those who have been with Books & Beyond from the start, helping mold the past three years into the foundation for years to come. For the rest of the weekend students will be meeting with their writing partners, learning about Rwandan culture, and brainstorming/beginning their stories for yet another anthology.
And remember – Global Gifts in Bloomington is now selling past copies of “The World is Our Home”—be sure to get your copy today!