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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Aug. 14, 201212:00 PM EST

Nonprofit CEO Showcase: Betty Metz

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President, Bibliophiles of America, BOOKS-A-GO GO Inc.

Mission

BOOKS-A-GO GO collects used and new children’s books and gives them to children from low-income families. These books are distributed through schools and organizations that serve these children. Our focus is school books for children from pre-kindergarten through elementary school.

Serving Jacksonville

BOOKS-A-GO GO began in March 2007 as a one-time community children’s book drive. The response and the support from the community and Mayor John Peyton’s office were overwhelming. Later that year, BOOKS-A-GO GO was incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization. BOOKS-A-GO GO is based in Jacksonville.

Those served

We distribute the majority of our books in Jacksonville, but books also are given to children in neighboring counties. In Jacksonville alone, there are more than 50,000 elementary school children in low-income households.

Biggest challenge

BOOKS-A-GO GO’s biggest challenge is gaining publicity so that businesses, schools and organizations will consider doing book drives.

Biggest satisfaction

A few years ago, I met Mary Pope Osborne, author of the best-selling “Magic Tree House” children’s book series. We have been working together to put sets of these wonderful books into the classrooms of Jacksonville Title I schools. The benefits for the children that had these sets in their classrooms have been overwhelming. Osborne expanded her program with BOOKS-A-GO GO over the years and now is offering these classroom sets on a national level. I am personally promoting this “Magic Tree House” program as well as through BOOKS-A-GO GO’s website.

BOOKS-A-GO GO is unique. No one is doing what we are doing, so I take our mission very seriously. I constantly hear from teachers and organizations of the impact of the books on the children.

Hometown

I am from Pittsburgh, Pa., and moved to Jacksonville in 1997.

First experience with community service

My earliest community service I can remember was as a child working with my church collecting donations for mission trips. Listening to missionaries talk about the poverty in other lands and what they were able to do in these countries inspired me to realize that even a child’s effort could really make a difference.

Your job before BOOKS-A-GO GO

I was a manager of an equipment company and a human resources manager for Westinghouse Electric.

Upcoming events

This fall, BOOKS-A-GO GO is looking for sponsors for new books and hoping to have book drives with businesses, schools and organizations that can provide books for the holiday season. March is BOOKS-A-GO GO’s 7th Anniversary and we celebrate with a Dr. Seuss party at a local Title I school, with guest readers, and all of the students receive new books. Partners are needed for this event.

Contact information

BOOKSAGOGO.org

(904) 635-6893

[email protected]

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