My first involvement with Ana Menchaca was through her Girl Scout troop. They volunteered to work on a project the Rotary Club of Austin was coordinating for BookSpring of Austin which is a literacy organization that works to get books in the hands of children who need them and to create a love for reading.
The girls collected gently used books from their friends and their school, came to BookSpring and sorted and stickers the books to get them ready to deliver to the city own low income free clinics and then the troop delivered them to the clinics to be handed out to the children when they came in for their well checks. The troop got so excited about this project and realized how excited these children were to receive those free books that they continued to do this project multiple times over several years. I realized during this time that much of the enthusiasm and direction for these projects was directly due to the natural leadership skills and caring nature of Ana Menchaca but she wanted to figure out a way to make the collection of books for the clinics sustainable.  So when she decided to do her Gold Award project, it was centered around a sustainable way to continue the collection and distribution of books by designing, building and placing permanent book collections boxes in three elementary schools (Canyon Creek, Spicewood, & Laurel Mountain) for the BookSpring organization. She arranged for this project to be a service activity for the Interact Club at Westwood High School, and for all the students at the 3 elementary schools. The Interact students will continue to pick up the books that the elementary students have collected and deliver them to BookSpring. She also worked with BookSpring to make posts on their blog about the project to encourage others to do the same. This collection has already helped over 650 children have books to read and will continue as a legacy long after Ana is gone because of her great organizational skills and her insight to get local organizations involved. Ana personally collected 658 books before the school year started, and since then, many more have been collected from the elementary schools and been delivered to BookSpring. Ana spent over 80 hours developing and making sure this project would be a success and that is true devotion, commitment and service above self. She is an amazing young adult and it is so inspiring to see young people who are interested in finding ways to make a difference every day and inspire others to join them in this desire to help others. Ana will follow in her dad’s footsteps when she is old enough to join Rotary because she already possesses all the characteristics of a true Rotarian.  What a great future role model.