A 17-year old Mountain Brook High School student named Christian Huddle, son of Clark and Lynn Huddle, has provided literacy resources to empower second-grade students in Birmingham City Schools for years to come.
Over a year ago, Christian, a Boy Scout with Troop 28, started thinking through his upcoming Eagle Scout Project. After talking with his pastor and other leaders at Independent Presbyterian Church, he identified a need that he thought he could meet in the Birmingham community. Christian decided to work with STAIR (Start The Adventure In Reading), a local nonprofit that works to improve the reading skills and self-esteem of second grade students in Birmingham through one-on-one tutoring.
After connecting with STAIR staff members, he realized that students in the program would benefit from having lending libraries where they could check out books and take them home to read. He took on the challenge of creating 12 lending libraries for STAIR sites, which are located in schools and churches across the city.
He spent the past year working hard to plan the logistics and implementation of his project. He started by sending flyers to the friends and family on his mom's Christmas card list, asking for books and donations to purchase supplies. He recruited friends to help him build the bookshelves. Christian utilized his strengths and gathered together people and resources to accomplish something wonderful!
He learned a lot along the way. What he thought would take a few months, turned into nearly a year due to the magnitude of the project. Christian says he learned that things always take longer than you think, and that time management is crucial. He jokingly labeled his first work
day to build the bookshelves a "colossal failure". Ultimately, he learned that both flexibility and positivity are key when one plan fails; sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board to reevaluate. These important lessons will surely accompany him the rest of his life.
In December, thanks to all of his hard work, Christian delivered 12 bookshelves and over 3,000 books to the STAIR locations throughout Birmingham. By far, the most rewarding part of the experience, Christian says, "was seeing the students and delivering the bookshelves. I really felt like I was making a difference." Christian's lending libraries are sure to provide an endless supply of adventure for STAIR students, cultivating a love of learning for years to come.
Students like Memori (pictured above) are now able to take books home on a weekly basis and share what they're learning with their families. And it's all because a 17-year old named Christian had a big dream that most people would consider too large to tackle!
In addition to providing the lending libraries, Christian was able to donate over $5,000 of additional funds to provide much needed resources for the STAIR program.
As he was driving away from his last delivery, Christian thought, "Wow, I'm done! I did that!"
It's amazing what a dream, a Christmas Card list, and a lot of hard work can accomplish.