Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many SF/F Being Awesome posts.
For close to 20 years, Balticon and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society have been raising money to provide books to kids — particularly kids who might not otherwise be able to afford them — and to school libraries as well.
I spoke with Kelly Pierce, who’s been coordinating the Bobby Gear Memorial Charity Auction at Balticon since about 2002. The auction raises the bulk of the money for Books for Kids each year.
In the beginning, BSFS Books for Kids worked with RIF (Reading is Fundamental) to buy and hand out the books. When RIF stopped operating in Maryland, BSFS Books for Kids chose to continue, and to distribute the books themselves.
The auction is named in honor of Bobby Gear, who was a BSFS volunteer and teacher at Buck Lodge Middle School, one of the first schools to benefit from the generosity of BSFS Books for Kids.
Since it all began, Balticon and BSFS has probably raised around $50,000 to provide books to libraries and kids in need, with the bulk of that money comes from the annual auction.
Think about that for a moment. Think about how many books this group of fans has passed out. Think about how much that means to kids who might not be able to afford books of their own.
This is what I love about fandom. People don’t just get together to celebrate the stories we love. They pour in hundreds and thousands of hours of work to help others, to share those stories and books with others. To share that love.
For more information:
- BSFS Bobby Gear Memorial Charity Auction Page
- Bobby Gear Memorial Charity Auction Facebook Page
- Balticon Web Page
Thank you Kelly for taking the time to talk to me, and thanks to everyone who’s volunteered and donated and supported BSFS Books for Kids over the years.
Do you have a suggestion for a group, organization, or event to be featured on the blog for general awesomeness? Email me at jchines -at- sff.net, or through my Contact Form.