We had the good fortune of connecting with Yenny Yang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yenny, how does your business help the community?
My grassroots non-profit, Read 4 Unity, exists with a vision to be the bridge of unity, one diverse book at a time. Our mission is to elevate the voices of BIPOC authors and stories in books that our K-8 students read. We do this by donating brand-new diverse books directly to teachers’ classrooms, community (non-profit) partners who serve children in “book desert” areas, and Little Free Library units, throughout metro Atlanta and beyond.
What should our readers know about your business?
What sets us up from other “micro” non-profit that focuses on literacy (book donation) is the fact that we are fully committed to collect and donate only brand-new books, specifically books with “own story narratives”. It means that books that showcase black characters should be authored by black authors, and so on. We believe in the authenticity of stories and want to honor it at all times.
Our challenges as a micro non-profit is always funding. However, we have been able to donate over 5000 books in less than 2 years since we started, all due to the generosity of our community! Our main focus is transparency and story-telling. We use Instagram to let our supporters and potential donors know what we do with the monetary donations and books we received, and at all times, our supporters know exactly where these books are going. We believe that accountability is one of the most crucial factors in running a small non-profit.
What we want the world to know about Read 4 Unity is that we exist to diversify America’s bookshelves; at home, in schools, and in community libraries, and we want everyone to join us in this effort! Books are windows and mirrors, and it builds empathy, sense of belonging, confidence and leadership skills. When children see themselves in the books they read, they are EMPOWERED. We want our children’s books to represent ALL of the wonderful diversity of our students!
Follow our journey: www.read4unity.com or on Instagram @read4unity
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Clarkston, GA is one of my favorite spots in the city! When you visit, you will be transformed to a world experience like no other! It has been dubbed “the most diverse square mile in America” or “Ellis Island of the South”, Clarkston residence include people from all parts of the world including Nepal, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Laotian, and many others. More than half of the population was born outside of the United States and 60 languages are spoken in the city’s one square mile.
Refuge Coffee would be my first stop! They have amazing drinks and snacks, and they are situated in the center of the city! The city has new bike pathways as well! Some of the amazing restaurants would be Abyssinia Cafe (Ethiopian) and Merhaba Shawarma (you can’t miss pitas & platters filled with meats, falafel & other Mediterranean staples in this spot!).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A huge shoutout goes to Kitti Murray, founder of Refuge Coffee. Kitti has been one of the most inspirational leaders that I personally look up to throughout my journey and process of starting Read 4 Unity. Her non-profit social enterprise has a simple vision of “worldwide welcome” with no agenda, and a mission to use a delicious cup of coffee as a platform for job training and personal development of resettled refugees and other immigrants, and this resonates so much with my personal value, especially as a former refugee.
They are a 501c3 non-profit, that exists to serve the global community in Clarkston and Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to job training program, Refuge Coffee works to create a fun, multi-ethnic comfortable gathering place at all of their locations.
Follow their amazing journey and support them at www.refugecoffeeco.com or @refugecoffee on Instagram!