Milk + Bookies: Bringing Service Learning and Books to LA Youth

submission by jgscott

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):

Milk + Bookies

Organization website:

Organization Twitter handle:

Organization Facebook page:

Organization Instagram:

Describe your organization (check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization



Please describe yourself (check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


M+B inspires children to help others by placing books into the hands of children who need them.

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.


M+B will implement its service learning program in Los Angeles classrooms while increasing access to books for underprivileged children.

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


@milkandbookies inspires LA children to become future philanthropists through giving books to local underprivileged children.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County? Check only one.

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)


Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay



What is your idea/project in more detail?


M+B will take our successful proven model of "book-raising" and implement it into Los Angeles classrooms and partnering community-based children's organizations. Third or fourth grade Los Angeles classrooms will "book-raise" for their service learning project. M+B will research a specific group of children in their area (homeless shelters, foster kid programs, after school programs, battered women and children shelters) that will receive the books. Students will inscribe their books, creating a personal connection to this giving experience. We will then deliver the books to their local peers. These books will become one of the very first storybooks that the underprivileged children can call their own.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?


In conjunction with the Mayor's office, we will select 1,000 Los Angeles classrooms to implement our pilot program for the 2014-2015 school year. M+B will provide these Los Angeles classrooms with a comprehensive instructional outline of our service learning project. Each aspect of our project is designed to make it easy for the teachers and fun for the students. Before the teachers present this service learning project to their classrooms, M+B will lead an assembly at the schools explaining the program in detail. We will supply each teacher with all of the products and tools needed to implement the project and help distribute the books collected from the students to local in-need recipients. M+B will provide a small reserve of books in each classroom for children who are unable to donate a book on their own. It is just as important to experience giving so we want to make sure that all children have this opportunity.
After the program takes place, M+B will stay involved with organizing transport of the books from the schools to the local children in need.



The sustainability of a literate society largely depends on the accessibility of books (Education Insider)."Getting books into the homes of children is what's important,"(Celia Yusem, LAUSD teacher of 40 years). There are books in the school libraries but students who read at home are better, more efficient readers and have higher math scores according to the National Education Association. Having books in the home is important for children to master literacy skills. Additionally, according to the National Service Learning Clearinghouse, exposing children to service learning increases acceptance of diversity, development of ethics, development of caring, and other social emotional learning. Bringing the Milk+Bookies service learning project to Los Angeles schools will give all students important skills in life that will foster Los Angeles children to feel empowered, equip them with the basic skills needed for academic challenges and encourage them to be socially-minded citizens.

Whom will your project benefit? Please be specific.


Our project will benefit children, teachers, schools and ultimately Los Angeles.

By exposing children to how great giving feels, they will want to do it again and again. With a purposeful format to impact each child, we aim to make a real imprint on their lives and watch as they set out to recreate that “do good” feeling.

With this grant, 1,000 classrooms - approximately 30,000 children - will be impacted by our program. More than 30,000 books will be distributed to at-risk, in-need children. The byproduct of our organization's mission is getting underprivileged children age appropriate books to help them with literacy, help them dream bigger and help them feel inspired.

Los Angeles teachers and schools will also benefit because we have the resources and materials ready for them. Their service learning project comes ready-made and will be distributed without any extra time and energy on their end. With all of the budget shortfalls, there is no extra time or money for classrooms to supply the children with all of these materials let alone carry out steps for finding recipients and helping organize distribution.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


It has been M+B's dream to share our service learning project with LAUSD's third grade classrooms. We have had the OPPORTUNITY to work with many other classrooms both in LA and nationwide and see the successful outcomes. We will focus all of our efforts on Los Angeles and double the amount of children being able to give and get.

We have had the opportunity to explain our project to the Mayor's office and discuss our program. We have spoken with LAUSD teachers and know that there is a NEED FOR SERVICE LEARNING PROJECTS that are not time consuming for them. Everything will be in place for the classrooms including supplies, teacher outlines and lesson plans, and volunteers and recipients.

Having the opportunity for EVALUATION within the schools and classrooms is another key factor to determine the success of the collaboration. We will collect as many surveys and information as possible from the children and the teachers after their "book raisers."

How will your project impact the LA2050 "LEARN" metrics?

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle school (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)


Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study found that the children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25%
 in reading compared to children who were read to less than 3 times a week. (U.S. Department of Education)

Findings show higher-than-average scores among students who reported more types of reading material at home. (The Nation’s Report Card: Fourth-Grade Reading).

Other research finds that low academic achievement and weak basic skills are other major reasons for truancy…warning signs are often evident in the elementary school years. As well as, Hispanic students in the United States are entering schools at a disadvantage because of a lack of exposure to literacy activities at home. The mathematics achievement gap is similar to that of reading scores. Low income fourth graders scored close to 30 points lower than their classmates in reading.

Statistics show 8th and 12th graders in similar low income families without age appropriate reading materials in the home resemble the fourth graders achievement gap. Many studies show that there is a direct correlation between illiteracy and academic/school failure. Literacy, confidence and character development lead children on a path to success in any school subject and ultimately anything they set out to achieve academically. Milk + Bookies empowers children by giving them books to read and give so that ultimately they will become Los Angeles's next generation of confident and compassionate leaders.

Please select which other LA2050 Goals are relevant to your project or organization (check all that apply):

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.


Evaluation will be very important for us and equally includes each group below.
1. We will include post "book raiser" forms for the teachers to hand out to the children who donated books. We will take photos at the events, hand out simple survey questionnaires and interview some of the children while they are filling out their bookplates (little inscriptions written by the giving child and placed in the front of the book).

2. We will assess: how the teachers and schools respond, which schools accept the program for their service learning project, what part of the school-year they decide to implement it, how easy or difficult it is to get schools involved, and how many books are collected in each classroom and overall.

3. We will distribute survey questionnaires to the organizations who received the books and there will be follow-up after they have distributed the books to the children they service. The organization will gather reactions from the children who receive the books and will use that information to encourage future schools and organizations who inquire about the children's responses. We will also reach out to the shelters, foster groups and after school programs in subsequent years to see how the children are performing in their schools and in their lives.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?


This project was born out of two very important lessons Milk+Bookies has learned over our 5 years of hosting our program locally and nationwide.

1) Kids, no matter their age or socioeconomic status, are naturally drawn to giving back. We have witnessed first hand the power of introducing service learning to students from a young age - our past participants have gone on to give back to their community through volunteering at food pantries, animal shelters, and even becoming interns at Milk+Bookies headquarters.

2) The most direct way to teach children about giving back is through the schools, but, unfortunately, teachers are often too overtasked to take on a service learning project. Because of this lesson, we have streamlined our project so that teachers have everything they need in one box. We take care of all the logistics and gather all of the materials to help bring service learning to students without overwhelming the teachers.

Explain how implementing your project in the next twelve months is an achievable goal.


M+B has five years of solid experience and we have seen success from our program peppered all over the country. We have hosted events in 269 cities and have been able to give books to 213 underprivileged children's groups nationwide.
Being a Los Angeles based organization, we can focus all of our efforts locally making it that much more manageable.
Our proposal is an achievable goal because the program is already in place, we know all of the materials needed and we have the information and experience to implement this project.
With the grant money we will have the resources to purchase all of the supplies, hire an extra staff member and cover all of the costs for the travel and outreach.
We also have a dedicated group of interns and volunteers who are always excited to travel to the recipient group. It is the most rewarding part of our job as well as their internship so they jump at the chance to go.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?


1) Finding LAUSD schools to cooperate and choose our program for their service learning project may be a challenge. We have met with the Mayor's office to go over our program in more detail and discuss needs in specific districts. In addition to LAUSD, there are other USDs in Los Angeles, including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica/ Malibu, Compton and Las Virgines as well charter and private schools, with whom we have relationships.

2) The most direct way to teach children about giving back is through the schools, but, unfortunately, teachers are often too overtasked to take on a service learning project. Because of this lesson, we have streamlined our project so that teachers have everything they need in one box. We take care of all the logistics and gather all of the materials to help bring service learning to students without overwhelming the teachers.

What resources does your project need? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

7 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Let's do the right thing and help milk & bookies get off the ground. with all the technology taking over our lives, it would be nice to invest in some real words on the page.

by bobbareilly
over 1 year ago

I've seen this program in action and it is inspiring. I think it helps LA from the ground up.

by bobbareilly
over 1 year ago

Such a beautiful concept. Investing in our youth is the most important way we can help Los Angeles grow and thrive.

by jennapman
over 1 year ago

What an amazing way to give back by also teaching our youth the importance of giving to others. I wish the best for this organization!

by keelanellis
over 1 year ago

How exciting! I've known about Milk+Bookies for a while now, and it's really inspiring and has a gigantic impact on the children (and families) who participate, both as recipients and donors. I've been able to see firsthand how the simple act of giving a book can make a child feel overjoyed and important, and that early introduction to giving back can really set a child on a path of lifelong generosity.

by PookieJones
over 1 year ago

I love that even students who may be more disadvantaged and without books to give of their own will still be able to participate! I work closely with underprivileged populations, and too often they are on the receiving end of charity not the giving - these kids could REALLY use the confidence boost of being able to make a difference for someone else....

by LynAugust
over 1 year ago

Amazing! Quite the double-edged sword of benefits here. I imagine the children who donate the books will be getting as much out of the program as the ones receiving them...

by leroyjustice
over 1 year ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014