Daly City AFT local unions host FirstBook community outreach

Julius Li, who was looking for books with 16-month-old daughter Madison in his arms, said they have story time twice a day.

  • Annabelle Mai, a first grader at Westlake Elementary, was happy because reading books is her favorite thing to do before going to sleep at night.
  • Aaliya Brown, and her sister Jada, a fourth grader helping a first grader learn to read, both found books they’d heard about and will finally get to read. 
  • Dream Tunac, a fifth grader at Westlake, clutched four fantasy books that he could get lost in. 
  • Noreen Mabini, a senior at Oceana High in Pacifica, reads a lot about science, but was looking forward to reading some fiction for a change. 
  • Minn Tun and Swe Win, Burmese immigrants, with their daughter WinLuckk, said reading together is especially important because it helps them practice English.
  • Ana Banquil and her sister Lagoya Bañez took books for their children Aliza Joy, Ariel, and Andre. Like most people who left with 10 books per child, they read almost every day and never have enough new books. 

The 40,000-book giveaway at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School on October 8, drew many families from Daly City’s Asian community, which accounts for almost 60 percent of the city’s 100,000 residents.

The event was co-sponsored by the AFT and its community partner FirstBook, the CFT, two local unions — AFT Local 3267, representing teachers in the Jefferson Elementary District and AFT Local 1481, representing teachers and classified in the Jefferson High School District — and both districts. The corporate sponsor, software company Palantir, paid for the 40,000 books.

Local 3267 President Melinda Dart said her union secured space and volunteers, and began outreach to children, families, and school staffs. Volunteers sorted books for the Saturday morning distribution.

  • Jessica Wan, who attended with her daughter, Evana, and her grandmother, Ren, said, “This is an important community event for Daly City. Low-income people want to read but can’t afford books, and learning is important for whole families, not just the kids.”

— Photos and reporting by Sharon Beals