A Heartfelt Hello and Goodbye

June 29, 2021

With spring comes change, and the spring of 2021 brought quite a few changes to Book Harvest.

The Hellos:

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of two new employees, both of whom bring a wealth of expertise to our staff as professionals and as Book Babies parents! Their highly-valued perspectives will continue to guide Book Harvest as we are increasingly called to place parents at the core of what we do. Maria Garcia joins us as the new Book Babies Program Coordinator. Her warmth and kindness paired with her unique background in management, engineering, and finance have already been felt within the organization. Plus, her son Alessandro just graduated our Book Babies program in May!

Alisa Miller, beloved Book Babies parent, is also now an official Book Babies Coach. She comes to us after working in the education field for over 13 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Relations from North Carolina Central University, and is currently working toward her master’s in Human Development and Family Studies. Her wealth of knowledge is invaluable and we are grateful to have her on our team! Alisa loves getting to know her new Book Babies families, and is passing on what her own Book Babies Coach taught her in the program.

We are also excited to have another NC LiteracyCorps member join us. Gabby Angeles assists both Book Babies and the Book Bank on various capacity building and book provision projects. A woman of many talents, she studied music theory and horn performance in Ohio, and is quite the English-to-Spanish language translator! She loves her Book Harvest coworkers and enjoys working with kids in the community.

The Board of Directors welcomes two new members:

Joy Spencer is a community leader with a record of significant advocacy and involvement in Durham and beyond. She received her BA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has gone on to work with numerous organizations and initiatives. Her work with Equity Before Birth is centered on increasing pregnancy/birth/postpartum healthcare services, holistic support, and paid leave opportunities for Black families. She is also a Black Parent Researcher with Village of Wisdom.

Randy Trice is a native of Durham and works every day to make it an even better place to live. He is currently an Outreach Worker for Durham County’s Project BUILD, a gang-intervention program, and works with youth who are high-risk or actively gang involved. He has over 20 years experience mentoring youth, including his own children. Randy also runs Fatherhood of Durham, an organization that connects dads with other dads, provide resources, and offers opportunities for fathers to engage with their children.

Finally, we are grateful to three Board members who recently took roles as officers: Sarah Wood, Chair; Rick Hunt, Vice Chair; and Juan Canal, Treasurer.

The Goodbyes:

We said goodbye to two amazing employees, both from the Book Babies team. Paula Espinosa, beloved Book Babies Program Coordinator, followed her heart north and will continue to do amazing work in Boston. Her kindness, energy, and patience will be deeply missed by all — including by the many Book Babies children she watched grow up! Temika Jones, Book Babies Coach, went moved south to Louisiana to be closer to family. The creativity, gentleness, and thoughtfulness that Temika brought to Book Harvest during her year-long tenure made a lasting impact and will be felt for years to come.

Book Harvest also recently said a goodbye to longtime Board member, Tabitha Blackwell, after reaching the three-term maximum (four year of which were as Board Chair). She is known at Book Harvest and around her community for her profound leadership and brilliant ideas, and she led Book Harvest with vision, hope, and intelligence. Though we are still overjoyed to call her a Book Harvest friend for life, she will be missed on our leadership team.

Thank you to all who have served, and are currently serving, alongside the Book Harvest team!