Staff at McREL International, a non-profit educational research organization, have teamed up with Habele to provide books for school libraries in Yap State, Micronesia.

Halley Halford, the Support Specialist at the McREL International office in Hawaii, spearheaded the book drive. She recruited remote peers as well as those at the Hawaii and Denver offices to gather specific book genres requested by the teachers and librarians of the Micronesia islands. Tinsley Long, the Support Specialist at the McREL International Denver office, helped organize the donations coming in from staff at that site.

McREL International provides effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders in the U.S. and across the pacific including American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, and Hawaii. Habele, which was established by former Peace Corps Volunteers, many of whom served as school librarians, provided postage and routing for the books.

“With our long-standing commitment to supporting educators throughout the Pacific, we were immediately drawn to Habele’s mission,” said Bryan Goodwin, the CEO of McREL International, a Denver-based capacity-building organization that partners with Pacific school systems via its Honolulu, Saipan, and Palau offices. “Every child, regardless of where they live, deserves top-quality instruction and materials, but financing and logistics can make that hard. Habele’s ability to literally go the extra miles to get these books where they’re needed is truly inspiring.”

The boxes are headed to school-based community libraries on Eauripik, Fais and Lamotrek. Young readers on these small and isolated islands are challenged by their limited access to reading and reference materials, with many of the Outer Islands only seeing a few brief visits each year from a state supply ship.

“Because of our islands’ unfortunate location, in the path of violent weather conditions, many times school books get wet and ruined,” explained Yap State Department of Education’s Romanes Yarofaichie. “Habele book donations have helped alleviate the problem with the shortage of books as the result of the earlier mentioned violent weather conditions. Isolated schools that continue to get donations from you folks out there continue to have a good number of books, esp. references, at their small libraries. Your donations surely help our students want to visit the school library to read and do research!””

“New and gently used books are purchased or gathered and sent to Micronesian educators all across the FSM who make requests to Habele,” explained Neil Mellen, Habele’s Founder. “We try to make the process simple for those who are looking to help.”

Gathering books –or donating to pay the cost of sending books– is one of the simplest way volunteers in the United States support Habele. In addition to boxed donations for school libraries, Habele’s Young Island Readers provides individual book donations to newborns through their fifth birthday.

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