Monday, April 15, 2024

CHS Activism Book Club Distributes Books with Local Mutual Aid Organization

Among Coronado High School (CHS) students, many kinds of civic engagement projects are spearheaded. With tens of service clubs on campus, it doesn’t matter whether one’s passion is pollution advocacy or equitable education: there’s a service project for everyone.

If we focus on the latter, the Activism Book Club might be the right group.

The club was founded in 2022 and has been active since then. Devoted to sharing accessible essays pertaining to current world events or the subjects of Harvard Heritage Months, the club also holds forums for safe discussion.

Volunteers organizing clothing donations at the Mutual-Aid Mall.

Reading isn’t the only thing this book club does; they also host an annual city-wide “Holiday Book Drive” which began in winter 2022-2023.

“The book drive started as just an idea between friends, and then from there, seeing its impact for the second year in a row of collecting and distributing 1000s of children’s books is such an incredible feeling. We could see the difference we were making in the lives of those excited children who were thrilled to have their own books,” says Co-President Hannah Cohen.

This year, the club collaborated with Village Elementary, Coronado Middle School, Coronado High School, and the Coronado School District office. Officers began planning the logistics of the drive in October while officially accepting donations from November 27, 2023 through January 17, 2024. During that time, the club surpassed their past record of books collected. In 2023, the club collected 1,035 books, but in 2024, the club collected 1,184.

Cohen organizes donated books.

With an emphasis on children’s books, it was no surprise the majority of the donations were copies of classic fairytales mixed in with contemporary chapter books.

The club’s mission with this drive is to give equitable access to literature with the hopes of improving literacy rates for lower-income families in San Diego.

To distribute the books, the club collaborated with Feeding Daygo, a San Diego based mutual aid organization. Feeding Daygo hosts an annual mutual aid mall, which provides clothing, toys, food, and hygiene products at no cost for whoever is in need. Feeding Daygo allowed the club to have a book station at the mutual-aid mall in 2023 and then again this year.

Additionally, Cohen has built a connection with Feeding Daygo by interning for them throughout her high school career. She shares, “Being present at the Mutual Aid Mall makes my fellow officers and the book club feel more actively involved in the extraordinary greater San Diego community, with its vibrant energy and collaborative spirit.”

This year’s mutual-aid mall was on Feb. 24 and hosted at Kippy’s Center at the Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego. Different local small businesses provided food, flowers, haircuts, and more.

The Activism Book Club’s station had almost 300 books displayed, which all found happy homes by the time the event was over. The other roughly 900 books were donated to “San Diego Book Project” which distributes books with the hopes of improving access and bettering literacy rates.

Club Vice President Addison Welsh attended this year’s mutual aid mall and helped work the book station. Welsh adds, “I’m proud of myself and I think I would consider this a big accomplishment. The turnout with all the books was very unexpected and I’m very impressed. Also, attending events like this is a very important thing to experience, especially at such a young age and I hope to participate in things like this in the future.”

After their months of effort collecting and coordinating, the members breathe a sigh of relief and feel confident that the event was a success. The club would like to thank everyone who donated to help make this year’s book drive so special.

Maria Laguna
Maria Laguna
Maria Laguna is student at Coronado High School and has lived in San Diego her whole life. She is an officer to numerous clubs on campus, including: Feminist Club, Creative Writing Club, and Activism Book Club. Maria is also very involved with community service. Her passions include fashion, reading, writing, and travel. She shows her love of literature by being a Coronado Public Library volunteer in her free time and working on her own novella. She has always loved doing activities that let her express herself creatively. Maria plans to study fashion and writing after graduating from Coronado High in 2024. Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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