Sarah Villamayor is an employee of Independence Blue Cross by day. By night (and weekends) Sarah is an avid Impact Thrift shopper, but more importantly she is a Blue Crew Volunteer….and she has found a way to merge all three into one philanthropic passion.
For the past 4 years, Sarah has volunteered as a part of Independence Blue Cross’s Blue Crew; and one of their many activities is offering academic and social support to schools through programs such as Philadelphia Reads Power Partners. As a Philadelphia Reads volunteer Sarah has the opportunity to work one-on-one with elementary students (at a school where 98 percent of the students live below the poverty level) to enhance their reading skills and empower children to gain confidence and achieve their full potential.
Here’s where Impact Thrift Stores comes in. When the students come to Blue Cross to read with Sarah, they bring books from their own library. The books have been, let’s say, “well loved” and they are quite worn. Because of the tattered condition of the student’s books, Sarah and her husband were shopping at Impact Thrift one evening, to purchase books to read with the students with their own money. One of the cashiers suggested that Sarah reach out to Impact Thrift’s Community Outreach Coordinator and this led to a vital community partnership. 219 donated books later, Impact Thrift has joined the efforts of Sarah and Independence Blue Cross to provide books to those students, and has also donated books to a children’s home in Warminster.
Sarah shared just how much these books will mean to the children, “These books will help to instill the joy of reading into more children! The children will be very excited about the books and very eager to open and read them. Books are something small that can lead to something very big! These books will motivate the children to read more, thus improving their reading skills and self-esteem, and once they succeed in reading they will be motivated to excel in other subjects and in their personal life.”
You may not be able to tutor children in your spare time, but you can help pay it forward by donating gently-used items to any one of the four Impact Thrift locations. The net proceeds from the sale of those items will financially support locally-based charities in our own communities. And who knows, if you donate books, they may end up in the hands of one of Sarah’s deserving students.
~Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator of Impact Thrift Stores