December 10, 2010

CBS News: Young Americans Help China Through Non-Profits

Arizona native Tom Stader started his non-profit, The Library Project, with just $500 in donations soon after moving to China in 2006.

“We almost went broke four times in the first two years. That was an issue, but it was something which our donors rose to the challenge,” said Tom. “They saved us.” Using old and new books, Tom’s team has built 320 libraries in rural classrooms like one in central China’s Shanxi province and in underfunded schools on the fringes of Beijing.

“We can see the outside world via books,” explains a boy who has benefitted from the Library Project.

An entire library costing just $1,500 can be a life-changer. Some children here have never read a book with color pictures before.

“Sometimes I don’t even feel hungry as long as I am reading,” said one girl, an encouragement for Tom.

“I think we’re at 75,000 children right now that have access to books,” said Tom.

While many come to China to take advantage of its growing wealth, young Americans like Tom and Casey are aware that not everyone’s getting rich. They’re eager to help those people to bloom as well.