Who We Are
Bundles of Books is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide books and/or other resources to needy children in communities throughout the world. Close your eyes – think of your favorite book. What comes to mind? Think of the characters, why you loved it, how you felt about it, what it meant to you, how it impacted you.
Now…erase that vision. You have never read the book, never been touched by the story, the characters, their experience – your experience. This is the reality of millions of children around the world. A written story has never touched their minds, never touched their hands, never given them the experience of great literature.
What We Do
Bundles of Books provides backpacks of new reading books to children, literacy resources to teachers and training to parents on reading with their children. Bundles of Books is a non-profit agency that serves low income resource limited communities throughout the world. In the United States a typical middle class child enters first grade with approximately 1,000 hours of reading time as compared to a child from a low income family, the low income child averages just 25 hours of reading time. Sixty percent of kindergarteners in neighborhoods where children did poorly in school did not own a single book. The goal at Bundles of Books is to get books in the hands of children, provide literacy resources for teachers and teach parents about the benefits of reading with their children.
Bundles of Books Program Model
Bundles of Books was founded on research-based principles built on the value of books and of literacy in the lives of children. Bundles of Books believes that books are essential to learning. Books are easily shared and transported.
Bundles of Books believes that literacy is a prerequisite to learning as well as a means to changing a child’s life. As a United Nations report notes, “Literacy is an indispensable means for effective social and economic participation, contributing to human development and poverty reduction.” At Bundles of Books we believe an education that supports literacy is essential to enriching the future of the world’s most valuable asset – our children.
Book programs in the United States have demonstrated that exposure to books and reading early in life ”…increases the probability of healthy child development and decreases the chance of school failure.” Nobel economist James J. Heckman (2004) has stated that “it is important to start early (with children) to increase the productivity of our work force because skills beget skills and learning begets learning.” His work shows that economic return on dollars invested in early education are as high as 15-17% per year – higher than other traditional economic development strategies.
Other book programs have concluded “…young children need rich and diverse reading materials to acquire the complex set of attitudes, skills, and behaviors associated with literacy development.” (Russ, S., Perez, V. Garro, N., Klass, P., Kuo, A., Gersun, M., et al., 2007).
In the book Game Changer! Book Access for all Kids by Miller and Sharp (2018), they discuss the importance of “ensuring all children own at least a few books must be a priority if we’re to provide equitable book access.”
A ”National Trust survey of more than 18,000 young people from age 8 to 17 identified a strong connection between students’ book ownership and their reading ability and motivation.” (Clark and Poulton, 2011)
Bundles of Books – Board of Directors
Charmaine M. Alvarado is Bundles of Books Chief Executive Officer and Board President. Charmaine Alvarado received her Master in Social Work from the University of Southern California she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has run large-scale social service programs in educational settings. In addition, she has consulted on international programs in developing nations primarily for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Charmaine Alvarado has managed evaluation project for a multi-million-dollar grant projects in Los Angeles. Mrs. Alvarado’s research, program development and community organizing, has resulted in multi-million-dollar funding for communities and schools. Mrs. Alvarado serves on the board of Give a Child Life a non-profit organization that provides programs for the world’s most desperately poor children.
Todd Harman is an Executive Leader and Global Brand Builder, he is an experienced C-level business and brand leader. Todd has led both challenger and market leading consumer goods brands throughout his career. In the roles of President and General Manager, Todd has consistently created strategic brand positions, meaningful product innovations and unique brand experiences that accelerate profitable growth while strengthening brand equity. Todd’s strong, collaborative leadership style is proven to empower diverse cross functional teams to succeed in extremely competitive industries and markets. Todd’s current role is Founder and CMO of Wise Wise Marketing Agency. Todd Harman is an original founding member of Bundles of Books non-profit organization.
Ben Alvarado is currently an Executive Vice President and the Director of Core Banking at California Bank & Trust overseeing small business banking and the branch banking network across California. Alvarado is a member of the Executive Management Committee at CB&T, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, a mentor for the Student Center for Professional Development at California State University Long Beach, member of the Board for Orange County United Way, and has his MBA from the Graziadio School of Business Management at Pepperdine University. Alvarado is the father of two and enjoys time with family, reading, travel, outdoor sports/activities, and making a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of the people around him. Ben Alvarado is a founding member of Bundles of Books, non-profit organization.
Jeff Messineo is President and Creative Director for Swift Media, a Web Development Firm. Jeff has managed Swift Media since its inception in 2000 with an intense focus on the end result for his clients. After establishing a strategic vision and determining the desired result, he works relentlessly to fulfill the promise of these original ideas. “Web development and design create a constant, fantastic challenge to learn more and improve upon both the technological and creative skills we must sharpen on a daily basis,” Jeff says.
By implementing an organized approach based on milestones and client communication, Jeff has helped numerous clients succeed including: Walt Imagineering, Fieldstone Communities, Building Industry Association – Southern California, Apartment Association, California Southern Cities, Ridley Scott and Associates, Sony and Nike. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Film Degree from California State University, Long Beach and attended post graduate work at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.
Trista Guetig is the Special Events Coordinator for Bundles of Books events. Trista waspreviously Director of Acquisitions and Development for G4 TV. She has chaired numerous community events including; Chair of committee for local National Charity League and Co-president OC school fundraising committee. Trista holds a Bachelor of Political Science Degree from California State University, Long Beach.