This young teen girl is on a mission to make sure anyone who wants a book can have one.

Coastal Habitat for Humanity in Asbury Park has a new Little Free Library thanks to a student from Wall Townnship named Leena.
Leena is an avid reader, a Wall Township Girl Scout, a believer in the power of books, and a girl who strives to share the love of reading with her community.
She strongly believes that every child is entitled to a book of their own. So as Leena  works toward earning her Girl Scout Silver Award, she  and has been working with Coastal Habitat for Humanity in Asbury Park to launch a new Little Free Library.
(The new Little Free Library made by volunteers of  Coastal Habitat in Asbury Park and Leena, photo from Kim Sambade)
The unveiling took place recently outside the ReStore at 1105 Memorial Drive (between 3rd and 4th Avenues) in Asbury Park.
How did Leena do it? Well, over the last few months, she collected over 700 children's books through safe, socially-distant pickups.
This Little Free Library will serve an accessible place where people, regardless of culture or language, can choose from a diverse selection of free books. The purpose of this project is to  show that all of us matter and should be included despite our differences.
While Leena was busy collecting books, Coastal Habitat for Humanity construction volunteers were working hard to design and build the Little Free Library. Once it was finished, Leena joined in to paint it.
Kim Sambade, Director of Event & Volunteer Services for Coastal Habitat, says this project has been an amazing collaboration and, during these tough times, has brought volunteers together safely for a great cause.
Leena (in the red skirt) with Kim Sambade (blonde hair, black dress)  and the volunteers from Coastal Habitat. Photo from Kim Sambade.
Kim says,
     "Leena has been inspiring to work with and we are so excited and grateful as she has donated the books that will bring our new Little Free Library to life for all to enjoy!"
Leena, we wish you the best of luck in earning your Girl Scout Silver Award and appreciate how you have gone the extra mile to serve a neighborhood in need by making it easy for any person who needs or wants a book to be able to have one, free of charge.
Most of all, as someone who appreciates and loves reading, I thank you for reminding people how wonderful it can be to hold a book in your hands and read it.
Here's a quote from Leena that goes way beyond her years:
"I believe books can not only be a window into different worlds, but a mirror of our own selves. The magic of books is that they can do both." -- Leena M.
In case you are unfamiliar with Little Free Library, this non-profit organization wants you to be  aware of this: Academically, children growing up in homes without books are, on average, three years behind children in homes with lots of books. One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of kids is to increase their access to books, especially at home. But two out of three children living in poverty don't have any books to call their own. So Little Free Library is a way to share books, 24/7, in areas where books are scarce. For more info, CLICK HERE.
And if you're unfamiliar with Coastal Habitat for Humanity and would like to learn how you can volunteer or support this non-profit, CLICK HERE.
And if you would like to shop at or donate to ReStore, CLICK HERE!
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