Ryan Traynor was only 11-years-old when he began volunteering to read to kids in order to earn a Boy Scouts of America merit badge.
Now a 16-year-old, Ryan still devotes his mornings to reading to the kids at the library.
In an interview with ABC News, Ryan said, “I got really attached to these kids, and I saw how much it meant to them. You just get to see the joy on the kids’ faces.”
Ryan soon realized that he could do more for the kids by starting a book drive.
According to Heather Landeros, the program director for Redwood City’s Police Activities League, the area usually doesn’t give the kids access to books. “Most of the kids in our community don’t have access to books on a regular basis.”
Jan Pedden from the Redwood City Public Library stated, “What sets Ryan apart, not only did he read to the children, he saw a need in the community, which was books in the homes, and he did something about it.”
After only six months, Ryan’s book drive had collected 25,000 books. The teen donated the books to eight schools, seven literacy programs, and twelve different charities.
Pedden stated, “It’s hard to measure the impact. The number of books that he has placed in the hands of people who did not have any books is overwhelming.”
“He brought them to schools, to shelters . . . anybody who needed a book.”
Ryan didn’t stop his efforts after the book drive was over. “Now we have nine different teens from seven different schools who work together to help improve literacy rates in the community,” the teen said.
In addition to his efforts in promoting literacy rates, Ryan has also started programs to help teach math, science, and financial literacy.
“When people hear my story, I want them to think about how everybody really wants to help and it really only takes one person.”