Book-lovers and best friends Chase Hartman and Vance Tomasi are not even teenagers. But the two boys are getting national buzz for their Tampa-based non-profit organization, read.repeat.
The group has saved 38,000 books from landfills, redistributing them to those in need. The Farnell Middle Schoolers recently received the President’s Environmental Youth Award for that effort.
But the boys' humanitarian work is just as strong. They have donated books to needy schools, the Goodwill and the Salvation Army. They also personally delivered books to the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.
“We see the smile on their faces and know we’ve done something good,” says Chase.
The boys began read.repeat. when a local company was about to throw away a few thousand books. Chase and Vance took the books, sorted them and found a local school that desperately needed them.
And thus began the journey. Saving books. Delivering books. And making people happy.
“We loaded up my mom’s car with 1,200 books,” says Vance. “It was down like a lowrider!”
They have only been doing this for 15 months, but they now have dropboxes for donations and social media accounts to inspire other kids.
Lot of donations and lots of requests for books.
They helped Sheehy Elementary and Robles Elementary and delivered 3,000 books to the VA Hospital.
“Typically with kids, they give up on things kind of quickly,” says Kim Parrish, Chase’s mother. “I’m absolutely shocked they’ve been doing this for 15 months.”
But these are special kids, she says. And a lot of people, including some in Washington, agree with her.