March 14th, 2012
It takes the entire Flippo family to box up more than 9,000 books. The books will travel more than 8,000 miles in the coming days.
It all started after 12-year-old Jordan won a national beauty pageant.
“Our director had really told us, you want to do something beyond the pageant,” Jordan Flippo, a 6th grade Cascia Hall student. “You don’t want this to last only one year.”
So the family pooled its ambitions.
“About the time my brother comes in from a trip from Africa, he’s telling them all about this neat little school,” mom Sandy Flippo said.
Jordan’s uncle Doug Henderson is a photographer, and his job takes him all over the globe.
But it was his time in Africa that gave the Flippo family the idea for the “Reading with Africa Project.”
“The more we’re hearing about it and seeing the pictures, these kids just look like they’re thrilled to be there,” Sandy Flippo said.
He told them about an overcrowded school in Uganda.
“So there are 550 kids now, in a one-room schoolhouse, dirt floor, but no books,” Jordan Flippo said.
Nicole Flippo added, “Some of them haven’t even seen a book, much less read one.”
So the sisters decided to hold a book drive at school.
“If a kid brought two books, then they didn’t have to wear their [school] uniform,” Jordan Flippo said. “They could wear their beloved blue jeans.”
Tulsa Public Schools and the library pitched in.
And now they have more books than they can ship.
“This is the state of Oklahoma giving books to Africa,” Nicole Flippo said.
The family’s dining room table is now the processing center.
“I’ve been in charge of sorting the books,” Nicole Flippo said.
It’s a very important job that will keep the books organized on the journey overseas.
“You have to think about how you’re laying them out there,” Sandy Flippo said. “The Dewey Decimal System isn’t going to work on a dirt floor in Uganda.”
Just one book will open a window to a whole new world.
Sandy Flippo said: “Can you imagine, out of those 550 kids.. is there going to be an Albert Einstein, or a J.K. Rowling?”
A world of possibilities with every turn of the page.
The Flippo family will leave for Uganda on Thursday. They hope to set up a library when they get there and teach the kids a few American sports, like baseball and basketball.By Grant Sloan, News On 6
Check out the news story that aired on Tulsa’s news.