Video games, fidget spinners and even hoverboards are items today’s youth covet when it comes to birthday or holiday gifts.
For 13-year-old Dripping Springs resident Ramsey Hutton, a gift card to Barnes and Noble or Half-Price Books will suffice, thank you very much.
Ever since she was a toddler, Hutton has pursued life through the pages of a book.
Now Hutton aims to share her love of reading with children who may not have the chance to purchase books of their own.
Working with Dripping Springs ISD and the Dripping Springs Presbyterian Church, Hutton hopes to raise enough books to give to children in the Dripping Springs area.
“It makes me so happy to donate books, because I can share that same joy that I have for reading. Some of these kids may not have owned a book before,” Hutton said. “It makes me happy because I’ve always taken advantage of books, and these kids treasure them.”
Hutton’s love for reading began with her parents and grandparents, who all stressed the need and importance of reading.
Hutton said she remembers being read to at night by her parents or grandparents. When she got older, Hutton’s parents started to read chapter books to her each night.
“When I started reading on my own, I would read through books super fast,” Hutton said.
Once she was older, Hutton sought to encourage and expand her love of reading. Driven by her mother’s encouragement to give back to the community, Hutton helped the Austin-based Manos de Christo organization during a school supplies drive.
The event provided children with backpacks and school supplies needed for the upcoming school year. It also provided students with books to read as well.
While Hutton enjoyed helping out MDC, she was disheartened to realize each child could receive just one book.
“That made me upset because I have piles of books in my room and I read them once and get rid of it,” Hutton said. “These kids read them over and over again because that’s all they have.”
Hutton decided she needed to do something to mitigate the problem. The solution was creating a book donation drive in 2016.
Helping Hutton were her parents, who each did their part to spread the word. Andy Hutton, Ramsey’s father, took to social media to alert the area of the book drive. Her mother, Alissa, a DSISD elementary educator, sent emails regarding the drive.
Ramsey talked with and received assistance from the DSPC as well. Over the course of a few weeks, Ramsey collected 3,917 books for MDC, which equated to four books per child.
Armed with the success of the MDC drive, Ramsey now plans to focus a 2017 book donation drive to help the Dripping Springs area.
One of the primary inspirations for Hutton was Grace Baxter, a 2016 Dripping Springs High graduate, who helped found the non-profit Center of the Plate. Baxter’s non-profit collected meat and donated it to needy families in the Dripping Springs area.
Her ability to help the Dripping Springs community spurred Hutton to create the drive.
“If she can do this and collect meat and donate it to families in need, I can start a mission where I can help families as well,” Hutton said. “Even though I’m younger than most people expect.”
Hutton plans to collect a wide range of books in her drive. She hopes to collect more books in Spanish, as well as bilingual and English language books.
With help from the school district, Hutton also hopes to donate books to children who may not be confident in asking for them at food and supply donation events.
It also encourages a skill that not only helps people escape the stresses of the real world, but also empower their minds.
“We have so much, but some have so little,” Hutton said. “It makes me happy to be able to help out.”