My name is Julie Whitney and I live in Northern Colorado with my husband, Brett. We are the parents of two adult sons. Brett and I grew up in Southern California, but moved to Colorado 16 years ago for a simplier way of life. We love the mountains and hiking is one of our most favorite pastimes. We also love to travel and experience different cultures, and I am a voracious reader.
When our sons left home, I needed a project and wanted to support a cause I believe in. I have always loved making things, so the project part was easy, I'd make things. Now the back story for my cause...
My mom was a kindergarten teacher in an under-resourced part of Los Angeles County. Her elementary school didn't have a library. This bothered her tremendously and she made it her project to build a library for her school. I was a teenager at the time so I don't know how she got the funding or any of the particulars, but one summer she had boxes and boxes of books delivered to our house and I helped her glue the checkout card envelopes in the front of the books. That took us quite awhile, and then we had the massive job of moving all these books to her school and shelving them according to the Dewey Decimal System. It was a summer-long project and I have no idea how many countless hours she worked on it while I was out doing other things.
Children's literacy was very important to her and she believed that every child deserves access to books. When she retired many years later, her school held a surprise ceremony and named their library The Ginny Neal Children's Library. It was the greatest honor of her life.
When we decided to move to Colorado, my mom decided she wanted to come with us. Her family was the most important thing and she was excited for a new adventure. Tragically, she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly the very week we moved. Our new adventure turned into a very difficult time.
Now fast forward 15 years to when I was thinking of a cause to support. I knew I wanted to do something with children's literacy and was so lucky to find Books for Kids. They are doing on a large scale exactly what my mom did all those years ago. It makes me feel close to her to know that in a small way, I am helping a cause that was so dear to her.