This fall, Better World Books employee, Melissa Harris, organized a local Ride for Reading event to serve the community near our Mishawaka, Indiana warehouse. Volunteers rode bicycles to a local school to deliver age-appropriate books to the students as a way to promote physical fitness and literacy.
Harris said she heard the founder of Ride for Reading speak during a company meeting and was inspired by the concept. Better World Books had donated books to Ride for Reading for several years but had never participated a ride to deliver books. Harris lead the effort to make that happen.
“We’re always trying to find cool volunteer opportunities. I really like being around kids. I was a children’s librarian for five years, and I’m a huge fan of children’s literacy,” said Harris.
Melissa Harris started at Better World Books three years ago. She currently works as a client service specialist, but has held a variety of positions throughout the company including fast find scanner, back of line support, media, customer care. As mentioned, Harris previously worked for a public library and has been able to translate that passion for learning and literacy into her work at Better World Books.
Through Better World Books’ volunteer time off program, Harris has also developed a passion for giving her time to her community. Prior to working for Better World Books, Harris had never considered volunteer work, but with the paid time off provided, she dove into helping in a variety of ways.
According to Harris, the volunteer time off has impacted not only how she gets involved in her community, but also how she engages in her work at Better World Books. “It helped me care more about working here. I appreciate the company more because we have this option,” says Harris.
In addition to heading up the Ride for Reading effort, Harris has volunteered with helping clean up the company’s adopted highway and has worked with the Homeward Bound Animal Rescue Center. The volunteer work at Homeward Bound has particularly impacted Harris’ life. Through her time there, she met and adopted Carl, her dog (pictured with Harris). Even beyond her volunteer time off, Harris plans to continue working with Homeward Bound because as she says, “I love the doggies and I’m a crazy dog lady.” Harris also has another dog and a cat.