Board Of Directors – Insight

Books In Homes USA Board of Directors



Dr. Richard Quest

The United States was founded based on the principles and inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness with all men (people) being created equal. Very lofty goals and ideals that we strive to uphold and live up to.


In order to do so and be well informed, contributing citizens we must be able to read. We must be able to take in information, critically think about it, decide for ourselves what that information means and make decisions that will effect ourselves and our nation.  Our democracy is based on these fundamentals.


All children should have access to high quality books of their own choosing so they may explore their world, and learn how to become members of our democratic society. Owning books, reading and discussing the ideas we have read is the fundamental basis to a working democratic nation.


I think it is very fitting that Books in Homes has been based in Philadelphia, the very city in which our democracy and independence was founded.



Awilda Balbuena
Board member

I may be the newest elected Board member, but my history with Books In Homes USA dates back to 2014 as the first SDP elementary school principal to come onboard. Dr. Quest introduced himself along with a promise to bring books into our families’ homes for years to come and my love and respect for BIH began.


As an educator since 1999 I understand how the research directly points to access to books at homes and how it can significantly increase a child’s academic trajectory. However, books in the home make a difference beyond literacy. Those children who grow up with books at home tend to not only have higher reading comprehension skills, but also mathematical and digital communication skills further increasing communication skills for future job attainment. Although we cannot control parents’ education level, their college attainment is another clear indicator of students’ academic success.  Books In Homes USA can directly affect the number of books in a children’s homes for the benefit of the entire family.


As a Board member I am committed to finding new ways to excite children and families about reading and ensuring I am contributing to growing home libraries all around the world.


Have a very happy and healthy new year!

Kevin Drinkwater
Board Treasurer & Founding Member

I have been involved with Books in Homes since it began in New Zealand over 25 years ago. Having seen the literacy improvements the program was making with elementary school children in New Zealand, I felt that Books in Homes could make an even greater difference in the USA. So I take delight in having been one of the cofounders of the program in 2008 and to see its expansion since.  I have continued to support Books in Homes as I believe it is making a difference to literacy and therefore children’s lives.


On a personal note, I came from a home where there were few books and reading was not encouraged, however I was lucky enough to have access to a treasure trove of books when I visited my Grandmother. It was from the shelves of her library that I began my journey, where reading became a love and took me to a level of success far beyond what was possible otherwise.  I was lucky that I had a grandmother that encouraged reading and had books, but many in this world do not have those opportunities.


Books in Homes helps bridge that gap, for those not as fortunate, by allowing children to choose new books that they own and can take home to form their own libraries – no strings attached. Going to a book giveaway is a most humbling and heart-warming occasion – to see the delight of the children when they get to choose their books and are assured they are theirs to own, and love, and they don’t have to pay for them!


Frank   Bolte
Board Member

The reason for me to personally engage with this organization is due to my upbringing and belief system that children are our next generation of leaders.   As well as all children need to have someone or some organizations to look up to and lean on at times.  This is particularly true with children who encounter financial hardships at early ages. It is not their fault this is an extra barrier for them to hurdle along with so many in life.  Having tools like reading and literacy at an earlier age in life is statistically proven (see Dr. Quest for facts – very convincing).


After many years with the organization, you learn to understand this is an issue that all can get behind and should in my opinion.  I continue to support the organization as I want to see this continue to grow and more importantly it is needed!  You can never have too many organizations that have a mission similar to Books in Homes USA.


My favorite thing about our organization is ultimately bringing books to children in need and more importantly the children want these books.  This is easy to support an organization like Books in Homes USA.


One thing I wish others know about our organization is that it does take a lot of money to sponsor a school for kids or an event. Our books are valuable (they come from Scholastic Books) but they are not that expensive for a Corporation to sponsor and/or individuals.  It just depends on what level one company/person wants to be involved.



John Hepworth
Board member

I first became aware of Books-in-Homes when my company was purchased by Mainfreight. Once learning more about it and having the pleasure of giving books to children at various schools in Australia and USA, I was hooked. The pleasure of seeing these children so excited after receiving these books, so they could take home and read them was very special.


It does not matter about race, wealth, education, or being gender specific, it should be upon all adults to encourage children to read. Books for children’s minds are like windows, it gives them vision and dreams. Our future depends on our children and the more prepared for life they are, the better our world will be.


Many years ago I personally sponsored new books for a rundown school library on a small island in Fiji. They arrived in a dingy on their local beach. To see the excitement and pleasure on the faces of these children as they helped to restock the school library, will stay with me forever.


I will always be helping in some way to see our children grow and develop, so serving as a director of Book-in-Homes USA is part of my commitment to improving our world.


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