Blandon teenager donates 2,000 books to Hispanic Center

Nick Hope, 17, of Blandon loves to read and wanted to share that love with families in Reading.

He did so by recently delivering nearly 2,000 donated children's books to the Daniel Torres Hispanic Center, 501 Washington St.

"I know that buying books isn't always a priority for many families," Hope said, standing next to a mound of boxes filled with books. "But reading is a great way to get far in life. If you start reading early in life, you tend to do a lot better overall and I wanted to give families that opportunity."

Hope, a junior at Fleetwood High School and a Boy Scout with Troop 183, said the donation was part of his community service project to become an Eagle Scout.

Hope, fellow troop members and other volunteers started leaving bags with notes explaining the project in neighborhoods around Blandon in June.

He collected more than 1,600 books donated by the community and received monetary donations from Millennium Manufacturing, Penske and Triose to purchase 200 Spanish-language children's books. Hope said he chose the Hispanic Center because it was a local nonprofit and as a family friend of the center's executive director, Michael Toledo, he was familiar with the organization.

The books will be given to parents enrolled in the center's Abriendo Puertas program.

Abriendo Puertas, or Opening Doors, teaches Spanish-speaking parents with toddlers how to create a positive reading and learning environment in the home.

"This is just great," said Ineavelle Ruiz, Abriendo Puertas program coordinator, as she skimmed through the boxes of books. "I know the recipients will be grateful for years to come.

"This will go right back to the community," she said.

Toledo said Hope is a shining example of young people who can change the lives of others for the better.

"This fits perfectly with our drive for parental engagement," Toledo said. "At the end of the day, what is important to us is the quality of life of our community and you cannot measure the importance of children with books.

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