Changing lifes, one book at a time

October 1, 2019


Books are GEMS a non-profit organization that has provided over 1.5 million books to children and educators across El Paso is looking for volunteers.


Their motto is “changing children’s lives, one book at a time.” Books are GEMS has multiple programs that have attributed to this feat such as the Six Free Books program, which gives any child five used books and one brand new book.


That’s why Books Are GEMS is looking for anybody to help with their volunteer Program on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.


The volunteer program also allows high school and college students to earn some of the required service learning hours they may need.


Some of the other programs Books are GEMS organizes include the Teacher Program which allows teachers to take up to 50 free books per year for their classrooms. 


The Mass Distribution Program, in which Books are GEMS partners with schools and community groups to distribute books throughout different venues or events and the RX to Read program, where the organization partners with pediatricians to provide new children’s books to observe child development


Books Are GEMS was created after the passing of 16-year-old Gracie Elizabeth Madriles in 2002. The following year her mother Paula Madriles began this organization in Gracie’s memory; even naming it after her daughter’s initials, G.E.M. 


It is noted in the introductory video for the organization that “During her mourning, she chose to honor her daughter’s spirit of love and generosity by enriching the lives of others through books.”


If that sounds like an appealing option there’s more information at the Books Are GEMS website An application from the website must be submitted along with passing a background check.


There is a $3 background check fee in order to apply, once the check is complete training for the volunteer program can begin.


“To see a book in the hand of every child in our community,” is the vision of Books Are GEMS, “By doing that we are changing lives one book at a time.” 


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