Robyn Strumpf struggled to overcome a personal obstacle as a child – learning to read. It was frustrating to her as well as embarrassing. Her parents tried various techniques with no success for quite some time. However, it finally became clear for her and she was able to read. She never gave up and a new world was opened up for her due to being able to read.
Because of this, Robyn wanted to make a difference in the lives of other children who were struggling to learn to read or who do not have the resources. She founded Project Books and Blankies so she could share the magic of reading with others. Robyn spends countless hours designing and sewing colorful quilts to accompany books. She places the books and quilts in baskets that she delivers to various classrooms to give to children. The ‘blankie’ she gives to the children is kept in the reading corner so the youth can snuggle up and get comfortable while reading.
Robyn also works to raise the community’s awareness about literacy issues and the value of service to the community because she has been so rewarded by her volunteer service. Word about Project Books and Blankies spread , and Robyn was contacted by an international relief organization. She then sent more than 1,000 books to South Africa to be distributed by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Since the inception of Project Books and Blankies, Robyn has collected in excess of $100,000 in books, fabrics, supplies and monetary grants. To date, she has donated in excess of 10,000 books locally and internationally.
Robyn has spoken to many organizations including but not limited to the Girl Scouts, Key Clubs, Optimists, the Northridge Chamber of Commerce and other local business owners. In addition, she has held book drives in the communities and contacted various publishers, bookstores and fabric manufacturers requesting donations for her organization. Robyn has also applied for and received grants that have allowed her to continue to share her story in hopes of encouraging other youth to read and to volunteer.
Because of Project Books and Blankies, other youth in the community have become involved. When Robyn speaks at various programs or other high schools, other high school students help to run the activities that follow her presentation. She is currently working to set up libraries in the Learning Rooms located in homeless shelters in the greater Los Angeles area with the hope of giving the children some consistency in their studies even though they are displaced from their homes.