When Amanda Borowski, a 12-year-old student at Hauppauge Middle School, heard about an elementary school in need of books, she started Amanda's Book Rescue.
So far she has collected more than 3,600 books to donate to Martin L. King Jr. Elementary School in Wyandanch.
"My mom came home from work one day and said that the elementary school doesn't have a library and I was like, 'Are you kidding me? I have a bunch of books sitting on my book shelf that I don't read anymore' and I was like, 'How about we start something about collecting books?'" Borowski said.
She quickly put her idea into action, donating 200 of her own books and handing out flyers asking for book donations at the Hauppauge homecoming in October. She also reached out to Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter and Boy Scout Troop 343 to help her collect books.
Dolores Schroeder, whose sons Jack, 13, and Patrick, 11, volunteered to be in charge of collecting books for their troop, was surprised to learn the books were being donated to a school.
"I was shocked, other parents were shocked that there was a school without a library. Honestly, we are just so used to having [a library] that it was an eye opener," Schroeder said.
Carpenter, whose department helped collect more than 800 books, was impressed by Borowski's initiative at such a young age.
"She sets a fine example that you don't have to be an adult to help make a difference," Carpenter said.
The Suffolk County Legislature on Tuesday presented Amanda Borowski with a proclamation for her exemplary community service.
In six short weeks, Borowski far surpassed her original goal of 1,000 books to start a library at the elementary school.
"It just amazes me, I didn't think we'd get half as many books as we did," Borowski said.
Paul Borowski, Amanda's father, said he was glad to see the magnitude of community support.
"It was grandparents, it was kids, it was organizations, it was a good diversity of people that really pitched in to make it happen," Paul Borowski said.
Both Paul and his wife Kathryn are very proud of their daughter's hard work.
"We received 700 books on one Saturday and she went through every single book to make sure it was appropriate, that it was in good condition and packed them up," Kathryn Borowski said.
While this is the 12-year-old's first independent community service project, she is no stranger to volunteering. She volunteers at events for the Courtney Sipes Memorial Foundation and received the Good Citizenship Award from Hauppauge Middle School last year.
If you are interested in donating books for Amanda's Book Rescue, please call 922-0642.
Amanda's Book Rescue has been such a success that the middle schooler plans to run more book drives in the future to help other Long Island schools and organizations in need of libraries.
"Reading is important to her, she finds joy in it and she just wanted other students to experience that joy as well," her mother said.