The Well-Being Journal

Colleagues Care: Books for Africa

Jennifer Rudloff

Have you ever wondered what to do with all the books you have been collecting, especially from college? I wondered the same thing about 4 years ago when I went through my bookshelf during the spring-cleaning that we all love to accomplish yearly. In the process, I not only discovered multiple books from college where the school changed books every semester (leaving it up to me to keep it or sell it online with a huge loss), but I also found books I purchased for personal knowledge accumulating dust. Yikes!!!

At that moment I decided to send some of my college books to Ethiopia where the second edition of Microbiology is being used in most universities while outdated in United States due to newer released editions. I reached out to some individuals who were traveling to Ethiopia to take books with them, but it was difficult since there is a luggage weight limit. At the same time, sending two to three books at a time and locating a traveler became a challenge of its own. At some point, I even checked out international shipping prices but I found it to be too expensive. After couple of searches and conversations, I connected with a friend who has heard about an organization named Books For Africa; also known as BFA.

I immediately started looking up this organization and learned that they are a perfect destination for my “outdated” books. Incredibly, this organization actually collects, sorts, ships and distributes books in Africa. BFA has shipped over 1.9 million books to 21 African countries in 2011 and has shipped 24 million high-quality text and library books in 45 countries since 1988.

In 2007, I joined to support them in collecting and shipping any and all books that I can get my hands on to their warehouse in Georgia for BFA’s shipment to Africa. So if you are like me and have wondered or are wondering what to do with books, check out their website. You will create some extra space on your shelf, provide access to education for a long-term sustainable solution in Africa, and improve your well-being in the process.

Topics: Healthy Living Community Books for Africa Donate Community Service Education

Colleagues Care: Martha O'Bryan Center

Jennifer Rudloff

Those who volunteer know that the impact extends beyond the community being served. It makes individuals feel good, encourages team work and collaboration, builds community around a cause, and benefits all aspects of our personal well-being.

Recently ninety members of Healthways health plan team traveled to the Martha O'Bryan Center in Nashville for a day of service. It is the mission of the Martha O'Bryan Center to empower children, youth, and adults in poverty to transform their lives through work, education, employment and fellowship. Inspired by this mission, Healthways colleagues wanted to help. They divided into work teams and conquered some much needed heavy cleaning, weeding, and landscaping and provided school supplies to be used by those in need. By pulling together to accomplish the task at hand, colleagues were able to give the center staff back hundreds of hours allowing them to focus more on the important core work they do. Our team came away feeling inspired about the work they had done, closer as a team, and full of warm fuzzies.

For a first hand account of the day, watch this video:

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OWPrEOF9no']

Given the tough economic times we are living in and the magnitude of natural disasters our nation is experiencing there is no shortage of people in need. How will you help improve our Nation's well-being?

Topics: volunteer Community Healthways Events Community Service Martha O'Bryan Center