S.P.E.W.’s Successful 2016 Accio Books Campaign

By Rubina Kandiah

Being part of a Harry Potter club, it is safe to say that literature is a very important aspect for most of us. From Narnia to The Shire and Hogwarts to Westoros, a lot of us have visited many different worlds through the imagination of authors. However, not everyone has the privilege or opportunity to read. According to UNICEF, “Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names” and Being to Read states that 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. Their numbers are growing, which means there are even more of them now. This is a very unfortunate scenario, which is why I am glad to see the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) make their Accio Books campaign an annual event and that our chapter – The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. – takes part in it every year with a lot of passion.

Every year, we have been having continuously successful Accio Books campaigns. This year was our third campaign with the HPA (the HPA itself was on its 8th annual campaign), and we collected a total of 7,276 books – surpassing our goal of 5,000 books and collecting more than twice what we collected last year (3,226books)! Our first year of campaigning, we had a total of 300 books so we have certainly come an immensely long way from the beginning! We came in second place worldwide for the number of books collected (out of 250+ chapters), and with the winning chapter collecting over 38,000 books, I’d say we did a rather impressive job this year! Way to go S.P.E.W.! We also came in third place worldwide for the total number of points; points were earned by hosting events or by doing different advocacy actions like emailing, writing letters to or calling representatives to request additional funding for libraries.

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The focus this year was on diverse books – main characters being people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, etc. – and we strived to collect as many of these as possible. The HPA chose to donate all of the books this year to Good Shepherd School in Masaka, Uganda, teaming up with a number of other organizations including Books for Africa, the Literate Earth Project, and the American Library Association. On top of that, our chapter, S.P.E.W., chose a local charter school to donate our books to – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central Florida. With the high number of books that we collected, we were able to donate to all seven of their different campuses throughout Central Florida. On top of that, employees at Universal Roofing, a construction company, heard about what we were doing and offered to build libraries for the children at their Pine Hills campus. The people in charge at UCP were very impressed with our book campaign success this year and were very grateful to us for choosing them! Several thanks to S.P.E.W. prefect, Bryanna Plantier, for suggesting the school.

With the rising success we’ve been having, I can only assume that we will aim even higher for next year’s campaign. It would be nice to come in 1st place! But more importantly, I am very proud to be a part of a club that takes such pride in spreading and encouraging literacy. May the Harry Potter fandom continue to lower the growing number of illiteracy around the world, book by book.

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A Quill by Kazarelth Writing Apparatus

World Poetry Day

Photo by Kazarelth Writing Apparatus

“His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard.
I wish he was mine, he’s truly divine,
the hero who conquered the Dark Lord.”
– Ginny Weasley

March 21st was World Poetry Day. Members of the Central Florida Slug Club celebrated by dusting off their quills and writing some Harry Potter themed poetry (in exchange for house points, of course. After all, there’s a Cup to win!) I must say, I was extremely impressed by the submissions we received.

Some of them were bursting with House Pride.

Bravest and Boldest
Lovers of the red and gold
We are Gryffindors!
— Lauren G.

“Wit beyond measure
Ravenclaw intelligence
The best House there is”
— Stephanie S.

Hufflepuff House Greeting:
Come in, you’ve nothing to fear.
We’ll greet you with happy good cheer.
We’ll not turn you away. We’ll ask you to stay. For everyone is welcome here.
— Anna R.

Others were just straight up funny.

There’s a giant squid in the Black Lake,
I can assure you he isn’t a fake.
He likes to cause trouble
And many many bubbles
He lives underwater, for Pete’s sake!
— Stephanie S.

Some told a tale:

There once was a Slytherin named Snape, His love for Lily he could not escape, He seemed to be bad, But really was sad, And helped the big picture take shape.
— Anna R.

Students speak, Chamber opens, Lockhart is a fraud, a secret is held in it for Tom Marvelo Riddle lives once again as Voldemort!!!
— Joe C.

While some reflected some anger at corporate media shenanigans (with a bit of adult language here):

It is an Eagle
F*ck you Warner Brothers and
Your Raven bullshit.
— Margaret L.

Even though I’m not a Gryffindor, this was my personal favorite for its creativity:

Gryffindor is the best house,
There can be no denying;
We don’t have a badger, snake or eagle
As a mascot;
Instead we have the mighty Lion!

It’s not boasting, when you’re the best,
It’s just tried and true!
We’re strongest and bravest,
Though we don’t claim brightest,
We have proven we’re better than you!
— Candace F.

Let’s keep the creativity flowing, shall we? Write your own Harry Potter poetry in the comments or submit it to cfslugclub at gmail.com for our quarterly newsletter!

A Positive Start to the New Year

It’s that time of year again, when we want to get the warm fuzzies from the holiday season and the promise of a new year but outside stressors may be affecting our good cheer – crowds at the stores, family drama, that awful customer who procrastinated their project and now puts a rush on you when you’d rather daydream of candy canes or relaxing afternoons at home…

Over the summer, the Harry Potter Alliance released their Positive Fandom campaign, a list of community guidelines to help make fandom a safe, inclusive, and welcome space for all fans. At GeekyCon 2015, they passed out postcards with these points and a list of tasks that attendees could complete in order to work their way towards a more positive fandom (and one of the coveted ribbon badges.) Each task was relatively easy to complete, but really left us thinking afterwards about how we can apply these to our daily lives.

The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. team took inspiration from these guidelines, discussed how these affected us, how could use these reminders particularly through the holidays and new year, and came up with a list of four points where we could use improvement: Kindness, Community, Education, and Self-Care.  During this month-long project, we are asking members of our group and the community to talk about what these mean to them, what they are doing to improve as individuals on each point, and post it on social media with #positivecfslugclub. Keep an eye on Slug Club social media (particularly our Twitter and Tumblr!) for member submissions and ideas on what YOU can do throughout the month! We’re dedicating a week to each point; expect to see a new one up each Sunday through early January. 

 

Accio Books 2015

S.P.E.W.’s Accio Books 2015 Drive Would Make Hermione Proud

A couple of weeks ago we delivered the books we collected this year, thus completing our second year participating in The Harry Potter Alliance‘s Accio Books campaign. Last year, we collected over 300 books and were so proud. It was only our first year doing it plus we started with less than half of the campaign left. We expected maybe 100 books.

This year, Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. group was a little more ambitious. When the HPA asked us to set a collection goal, we went for 1,500 books – almost five times what we collected in the previous year. Our team went all out, setting up book collection boxes at their jobs and in local libraries, pestering their friends and family, and partnering with other local groups such as Orlando Nerd Nite and Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic. (It really helped that the organization we were working with was one that many of our members were passionate about helping: Impower FL, a mental health and child well-being organization that serves five counties in Central Florida.) Our total this year? Read More

Accio Books 2015 Donation Locations

Want to donate some books for our 2015 Accio Books program? We have donation boxes at the following locations:

Winter Park Public Library
460 E New England Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-Th 9AM-9PM, Sat 9AM-5PM, Sun 1-5PM

Regus Winter Park
941 W Morse Blvd, Suite 100
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: M-F 830AM-500PM

Leesburg Public Library
100 E Main Street
Leesburg, FL 34748
Hours: M-Th 9AM-8PM, Sat 9AM-5PM

First Baptist Church of Highland City
5410 Yarborough Lane
Lakeland, FL 33813
Hours: 7AM-6PM (Ring Bell)

More locations coming soon! Keep an eye on our blog here or our S.P.E.W. Facebook page for more information. The Central Florida Slug Club’s Accio Books 2015 Donation Drive goes from April 1st through May 30th.

You can also bring your books to any Central Florida Slug Club meetup in April and May, as well as meetups for “Tampa Bay’s Portkey to Magic”, an adult Harry Potter club in the Tampa area, and Nerd Nite Orlando.

All donations will go to Impower, a non-profit mental health and child well-being organization in Central Florida.

SPEW logo                       impower                    HPA Chapters

December 2014 Meetup Recaps

December was a busy month for the Central Florida Slug Club!

1. Our SPEW team collected over a thousand pairs of socks for the homeless!

2. We went ice skating! (When Florida won’t give us a proper winter, we’ll just create one indoors.)

3. S.P.E.W. made Owl Post for Aurors! Through this program, members created holiday cards for soldiers serving away from their families this winter. Krista mailed them to a soldier she corresponds with regularly, who then distributed the cards to the soldiers in his platoon. There were some very creative and fun cards created! Read More

Sock Drive Success!

Congratulations to our S.P.E.W. group – our first sock drive was a HUGE success!

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S.P.E.W. members raided their drawers for gently used socks, bought some new ones, gathered from friends and family, spread awareness through social media, and set up collection boxes at their schools and places of business. S.P.E.W. Slytherin Hannah partnered with teachers at her school to arrange bonus points and waive volunteer hours for sock donors, resulting in two garbage bags FULL of (mostly new!) socks… and a random bag of clothing.

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As this was our first real project since we organized, Jessica and I set the group’s goal at a relatively low number – 200 pairs of socks. Due to the hard work (and a little bit of cunning) from our members, we finished with a whopping 1,323 pairs of socks for the homeless! Thank you to everyone who helped with this project!

Dobby’s Sock Drive

Dobby's Sock Drive - Rough Draft

The Central Florida Slug Club’s S.P.E.W. division recently started their first community service project since the group formed over the summer! They are currently collecting socks for the homeless. Socks are the most needed and least donated item (after all, almost everyone, even Floridians, wear socks at some point, but very few people think to donate them.)

Please bring your new or gently used socks (paired or mismatched!) to any meetup during the month of November as well as our ice skating meetup on December 7th. Donations are also accepted in our collection box at the Regus location at 941 W. Morse Blvd, Suite 100, Winter Park, FL from November 1st through December 1st. All socks donated will go to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, who will then distribute it to the homeless using their services.

A subdivision of Central Florida Slug Club, the goal of Central Florida Slug Club S.P.E.W. is to encourage local citizens to get involved in helping out in their communities. We will accomplish this by creating and organizing opportunities for service and recruiting a volunteer force to build and execute them. Similar to Hermione’s S.P.E.W., we are the Society for the Promotion of Everyone’s Welfare, working together to promote a better world in a variety of ways. If you have any questions or wish to get involved, please reach out to our S.P.E.W. organizers at cfslugclubspew@gmail.com.