Matt Oswald, a Boy Scout residing in Lakeville, Minnesota decided to organize a children’s book drive for the Next Door Foundation for his Eagle Scout project. Matt is the grandson of James Oswald, a longtime resident of Wauwatosa, who was an active donor and volunteer with the Next Door Foundation for over 25 years until he passed away last summer.
Jim served on the Next Door Planned Giving Council and was a member of the Planned Giving Society. Many years ago, Jim stated, “Next Door Foundation shares my belief that education is the key to success in any important endeavor.” His strong belief in the importance of education was a major influence on both his children and grandchildren.
Because Books for Kids was an important part of Matt’s grandfather’s visits to Next Door Foundation, Matt decided that holding a book drive to benefit this organization would be a great way to honor his grandfather while helping hundreds of children in the community. The main focus of the project was to collect gently used or new children’s books for age’s birth-5 years to support the need for all children to have quality books in their homes. Matt not only organized the advertising, collection, sorting, and counting of the books, he also organized the shipment of the 5,000 gently used and new children’s books to Next Door Foundation from Minnesota.
Since 1990 when the Books for Kids program began, many Boy Scouts have chosen Books for Kids for their project. What makes this project different and unique is this future Eagle Scout lives hundreds of miles away, residing in Lakeville, Minnesota. In addition to this, Matt expanded his project beyond his local community to include a local Boy Scout Troop in Wauwatosa, WI.
Matt sought the cooperation of the Lakeville and Wauwatosa school districts and organized collection sites at each elementary, middle school and high school. Matt also reached out to the Three Harbors Boy Scout Council in Milwaukee and was put in touch with Boy Scout Troop 28 sponsored by St. Bernard’s Parish in Wauwatosa. The boy scouts of Troop 28 were more than willing to help with this project and were invaluable in making the book collection happen in Wauwatosa.
The shipment of books arrived Friday, March 15, 2013. Matt and his father drove from Minnesota for the purpose of delivering the books collected from the Wauwatosa troop on the following Monday. The grand total of children’s books collected was 7,025. Each book will be given to children throughout the City of Milwaukee who do not have books to call their own.
Next Door Foundation is thankful to Matt Oswald for his hard work in honor of his Grandfather, James Oswald.