by Brayton Maxson, Summer 2014 and 2015 intern
We were out at an apartment complex setting up a book distribution for elementary school kids when a middle school kid came up to me. He was there waiting for his brother to get home from school and was interested in why we were out there and why there were books laid out on the ground. I told him why we were there and he seemed to be bored of the conversation and when I told him he could grab some books he looked at the pile with very little interest. When his brother got there they both left with no books and I was sure that we would not see him again.
The next week we got to the complex an hour early to give books to the kids who were too young to be in school, and much to my surprise there was the same middle school kid. He seemed much more interested this time around and we started to have conversations about everything from school to sports to what our favorite foods are. By the time his brother got off the bus we had become friends, and they both left with a small handful of books.
The next week came around and I was looking forward to not only giving books to the kids but also seeing my new friend. This time I realized that a lot of the middle school books we had brought were too difficult for him and he didn’t seem interested in the topics of the books. So I told him I would bring him some basketball books.
The next week I brought him some books that I had from when I was a kid as well as some I went out and bought for him. Along with this conversation I learned that he wanted to go to college on a basketball scholarship and that he and his brother were going to be alone all summer. He said that they had to be inside with the door locked because it was not always safe for them to be outside in the neighborhood and these books will help them overcome the boredom. This conversation really hit home with me, I can’t even imagine growing up in a place where you can’t play outside during the summer or even go out of your house without being worried something might happen. It struck me then that this is why Book Harvest is so important, those few books that we gave that kid could help keep him off the streets and potentially help him reach his goal of making it to college.
We were only at the complex a few more times but over that month that kid and I had many conversations and over those conversations became friends. When school let out for the summer we had to stop going to the complex and I have lost touch with him since but that month was by far the most memorable month of my internship here at Book Harvest.