20,000 Pennies at the 2019 Virginia Association of School Librarians Conference


Last Friday, November 8, I had the pleasure of joining a fabulous presentation team to share 20,000 Pennies, our story of community connection sparked through literature. Our presentation team included Kara McClurken, co-founder of Bennett’s Village, and Jack Dozier, St. Anne’s-Belfield School student and leader of the Leveling the Playing Field for Children in Charlottesville Quest. (You can learn more about our experience here.) School librarians and teachers from all over the state of Virginia joined us in discussing our partnership, planning process, and the student-lead, community-wide engagement that we saw over the course of the year. Then, we offered resources and assistance as the group brainstormed ways that they could bring community engagement back to their own school communities.

It was a pretty incredible feeling to see a beloved former student speak to a room of professionals about his passion for reading and community service. While Kara and I were important to the presentation, it was Jack’s determination and heart that wowed the crowd with his story of one small ripple that became a massive wave. A heartfelt thank you to the Virginia Association is School Librarians for providing a platform for us to share our story and help spark literacy-inspired change in other communities around Virginia. We had a great time!

See our resources, share ideas, and connect to other educators via our session’s Community Connections Padlet.

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