Samantha Hubner, current educational ambassador, saw a need in Quzhou and rose to the occasion. Here's her own narrative about the book drive and subsequent reading campaign!
"Around Thanksgiving, I reached out to my friends and family back in the US and around the world asking them to donate old English books to our school library at Quzhou No. 1 High School. In launching this book drive, what I wanted to do was create a way where people back home could become part of my story as a foreign teacher, instead of just reading about my work on social media. Beyond that, I had recently discovered that there were little to no English books in the library, with the exception of textbooks and an occasional magazine. My students had also confided in me that they often wished they could read English books outside of their textbooks. So it seemed a natural fit! The book drive really took off during the December holiday season, with about 100 books being sent to Quzhou. My university even shared an article about the book drive to garner even more support.
For each person who donated a book, a student at Quzhou No. 1 High School wrote a postcard of thanks in reply, explaining why learning English was important to their future and how the donated books were going to help them reach their goals.
So far, the books have been a huge hit! Though I formally presented the books as a gift to my school leadership during our Christmas dinner, the school leaders asked me to give a speech (in Chinese of course, so that was nerve-wracking!) in front of the entire student body to launch a reading campaign inspired by the many donated books. The reading campaign has been a huge hit as well, with almost every single donated book having been taken out at least once by a student in the last month. However, my favorite thing that has happened has been watching one particular student, a Senior 3 student, using the books to escape the stress of the imminent GaoKao while still preparing by practicing his English reading comprehension. He is currently on Book 3 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and absolutely loving it!"
After Ameson, Sam is traveling to Greece to volunteer at a refugee camp. Keep up with Sam on her blog.