Books Build Bridges Heads to Costa Rica to Deliver Books

Small businesses launched during the COVID-19 pandemic are experiencing growth opportunities every day. In today’s blog post, our leader Deborah’s Sweeney’s son Ben Sweeney shares an update about his 501(c)(3) non-profit Books Build Bridges as he heads to Costa Rica on a mission to deliver books.

About three months ago, I shared a blog post about a non-profit I started called Books Build Bridges. We help collect and distribute books to children in underserved communities.

My non-profit launched during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations quickly grew to more than 10,000 books in our family garage! 10 of my best mask-wearing friends, and my brother Chris, assisted in organizing and coordinating the books. This ensured the books would be delivered to the right charities and distributed to those in need.

You might wonder what my non-profit organization is up to now. Books Build Bridges is going international! Here’s a look at our incredible travels to Costa Rica and how donating books is reaching and connecting with the youth.

Ben Sweeney with 5th grade students at Papagayo Peninsula Escuela.

Books Builds Bridges Heads to Costa Rica

This summer, my family and I traveled to Costa Rica to deliver thousands of books to their youth. We visited schools in El Torito, Samara, and the Papagayo Peninsula.

The experience for me was eye-opening. I was able to see firsthand the school environment and towns around Costa Rica. There is a need for books and libraries that facilitate basic learning and reading education for individuals of all ages. Many young people in Costa Rica have only just returned to school after more than three years. These years, subsisting of the COVID-19 pandemic and teacher strikes, created an uncertain academic environment.

Therefore, it matters so much to see visitors bringing gifts of books. We were able to donate books to individual students and school libraries, inspiring the youth and creating a heartwarming experience.

Ben Sweeney with 4th grade students at Guardia School.

Building Book Mailboxes

If you live in the United States, you may be familiar with the concept of the neighborhood library. These are book mailboxes across various neighborhoods and communities. They encourage readers to pick out a book, read it, and return it. Residents may donate books to a book mailbox. Some neighborhoods even have adult and children’s book mailboxes for all readers!

Subsequently, I did more than donate books while I was in Costa Rica. I also spoke with leaders about furthering the need for books and distribution throughout the Papagayo region. My brother Chris and I collected money to donate book mailboxes in connection with Asociacion Crear. These mailboxes, encouraging readers to take a book and give a book, helps to build bridges among the Costa Rican youth.

What’s Next for Books Build Bridges?

As summer wraps up and I prepare to start 12th grade, I am happy to share that there will be ongoing adventures for Books Build Bridges.

We will continue to keep working with local communities throughout Southern California to collect, sort, and distribute books. Our books will be donated throughout the United States and Costa Rica. In addition, we will also start a book collection event with the Calabasas Senior Center. From there, the books will head to Atlanta, Georgia. Then the books will be sent to Africa!

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