green branch

social justice library and gathering space for youth of all ages

Archive for the month “July, 2011”


Hell, yeah!

I’m very excited to pursue this option for Green Branch, as it seems the most feasible, financially-speaking. But also, it would be so awesome!

And my friend just told me about this other very awesome project through MIT:

So basically, we’re on the cutting edge. Now I just have to find a way to make the bookmobile fold in on itself and transform into seating….


How volunteering works

For those of you interested in helping out, Green Branch needs volunteers for a number of projects, ranging from procuring a space for us, grant-writing, and program development. To make things clearer, the Board of Directors has divided itself up into 4 committees, each concentrating on a different domain of non-profit management. Please review the following info about the committees, and decide which one is right for you! Keep in mind the following points:
  • All of the projects are on a work-from-home basis, with consistent check-ins with your committee’s chairperson and/or myself (via email, phone, or in-person).
  • You are free to set your own time commitment and schedule, with the understanding that you have worked out a mutually agreed-upon project timeline with your point-person.
  • Please also feel free to request certain projects from certain committees that you feel speak to you. (You could also ask for several projects from several committees- I won’t say no!) You don’t have to blindly commit to a committee without knowing what we will hand you! Or if you are flexible as the specific project or even entire committee, let me know! I’ll assign you to the project that is most urgent.

I’d like to review the committees we have formed so that you can decide which type of project appeals to you the most.

Outreach- Chaired by Susan and Sue
Projects include:
  • Researching and contacting like-minded community organizations with whom to collaborate/partner
  • Reaching out to people (parents/teachers/educators/schools/youth groups) who will come use the library to form our membership base
  • Publicity/marketing
  • Developing appropriate outreach materials (brochures, etc)
Development- Chaired by Chloë and Shari
Projects include:
  • Seeking out and writing grant proposals from compatible foundations.
  • Planning benefit parties and other modes of grassroots fundraising
  • Book-keeping
  • Revising our existing business plan
Facilities- Chaired by Bakari
Projects include:
  • Exploring our options for a pro-bono permanent space and/or bookmobile
  • Coordinating with area farmers markets to see about having a regular booth.
  • Online presence and website expansion (tech-savvy people apply here!)
Programming- Chaired by Alison
Projects include:
  • Generating ideas and writing plans for workshops and activities~expanding book collection wishlist
  • Recruiting local experts/teachers to lead these
  • (or conversely, approaching experts and asking them to present their own curriculum in a topic we would like to see at GB)
  • Developing teacher curriculum kits

More things to tell you:

  • We, as a group of volunteers, will aim to meet once every month or two months, to reconvene as a group, share our progress, ready the books for public consumption, and have a mini-party!
  • Our next meeting will be Friday, September 2, at 6pm, (with Board members meeting briefly afterwards at 8pm for our annual meeting)
  • Please let me know your your committee selection by Tuesday, August 2, via email. I will then reply to you with your first project, and get you in touch with your point-person.

Thank you! I couldn’t do it without you, nor would I want to. I so appreciate your willingness to help at the very beginning stages of Green Branch, and co-creating our vision.

Seeking Volunteers

We hope you are doing well since we were last in touch; Green Branch has come a long way since Christmas. We’re closer than ever to our goal of opening a San Francisco Bay Area-based social justice and environmentally-themed library and community space for youth of all ages, their families, caregivers, and educators. We are so excited to be on this adventure with you!

In just a few short months, we have collected thousands of dollars in donations, and hundreds of high-quality social justice themed books for youth of all ages. We had some media coverage in April and hosted a fun and successful benefit party in May. We also represented at a website launch party for in June, and have gathered many friends and supporters along the way.

We are hoping to launch our program as soon as we can find a space, and despite some false starts, we are confident that this can happen in the next few months. As always, we are so grateful for the generosity and support you have given us so far!

We are currently seeking any leads and contacts regarding pro-bono space in the Oakland/Berkeley area, as well as looking into the option of a donated bus for a book-mobile. Any ideas? Know anyone with a decommissioned school bus laying around? Please see our website for more information about our mission and needs, and to view our wishlist.

For those of you in the area, we are having our first volunteer meeting next Monday,July 25th, 7pm, at the home of our Executive Director, Shari Leskowitz (6448 Colby St., Oakland, CA. 94618). Please stop by for some snacks and lively conversation as we all brainstorm together for Green Branch’s next steps, and how you can help as a volunteer. We’ll be talking about programming and outreach, and we’d love your creativity and input. Email us to RSVP at, or call 510.872.2369.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, but are still interested in volunteering, let us know. We’d still love to have you, and there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in the coming months. If you have any friends who might be interested, let them know as well, and we hope to see you on Monday!

Please continue to spread the word, and keep on sending your support and positive energy our way! We couldn’t do it without you!

In gratitude,
Shari Leskowitz,
and the Board of Directors: Bakari Kafele, Alison Merz, Susan Tu, Sue Mahon, and Chloë Gladstone.

Our December 2010 introduction to the world!

December 17, 2010

Dear Friend,

As you may know, for a couple of years now I have been planning a social justice library for the youth of the San Francisco Bay Area.

I am so excited to write to you today to introduce you to Green Branch! We are now an official organization, and ready to take off! Green Branch is a library space unlike any other, helping young readers become advocates for their communities and the causes they believe in.

Now is a critical and exciting time for Green Branch. We are gearing up to open our doors to the young people of the Bay Area, and we need your help!

Did you know the US government rated Oakland the city with the fifth highest rate of violent crime in this country in 2009? I was shocked when I read that, and I feel the urgent need for a space like Green Branch more than ever. Young people are already out there working for change. It is our responsibility to support them.

Any amount of money will help Green Branch take root in our prospective space in downtown Oakland. A gift of just $25 will buy a beautiful new children’s book, while $100 will help us cover monthly fees for our new facilities. Also, we’ll gladly accept new or gently used books and materials, for ages 1-18, that reflect a social or environmental justice theme. You can mail checks and books to the address above, and all gifts are tax-deductible.

I would be deeply honored if you would join me in creating this space.

Please visit our beautiful new website at for more information about our programming and activities, and for more ways to contribute to Green Branch. We are also looking for collaborators in the community. For those of you who have already helped along the way, with words of advice and support, and donations large and small, I am so grateful.

Thank you for your compassion, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Wishing you and yours joy and peace,
And in gratitude,

Shari Leskowitz
Executive Director
Green Branch

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