Book bounty for school fundraiser
by Joel Danoy
Nov 15, 2012 | 2502 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Book sale at Traina Elementary School
Frew Tibebu looks over some of the books up for sale Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Traina Elementary School book sale. Tibebu donated thousands of the books to the school for the sale.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A local realtor is supporting his community in more ways than one.

In fact, Frew Tibebu is supporting it in about 6,000 different ways — as in the number of books he donated to a book sale this week at Traina School.

Since 2007, the 55-year-old has also worked with students at Williams Middle School and Villalovoz Elementary School to collect about 30,000 books for donation to third-world countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia.

Tibebu described himself as an advocate for literacy and felt the leftover books he had could make an immediate impact on Traina School. He also joked that he now has an empty storage unit where he used to keep the books.

“I read in the (Tracy Press) Datebook that they needed books, so I had them in the unit and it helps them, and now I don’t have to pay this monthly storage fee of about 90-some dollars anymore,” he said. “I could send them other places, but you have to keep it local and make connections with people here where you live.”

Among the books he donated are several different genres, including classical, children’s books, college textbooks, novels and mystery reads.

According to Allison Quinteros, a parent volunteer with the parent club at Traina, the book sale is being conducted every day until Friday, Nov. 16, from 1 to 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Traina.

Book prices range from 50 cents to $4, and all proceeds will directly support Traina students. Organizers have set a sales goal of $7,000.

“We have books that everyone will enjoy, whether you like to read or you’re buying it as a gift for someone else,” Quinteros said. “Our parent club was trying to find creative ways to raise money for our school, and we thought this is two-fold win-win — you’re getting money for your school and encouraging reading and a love for books.”

Tibebu’s contribution helped account for a little more than half of the books that the school had already collected during the month of October, Quinteros said.

She described his donation as a “blessing” for the school and its students.

“We have a high sales goal to meet, but we thought, why not aim high?” she said. “But with Frew’s donation it looks like it could be a real reality, because we actually have a lot more books to sell now.”

Traina Principal Jon Ovick said all the money generated by the sale will support student learning opportunities.

“As far as how the funds will be used, it will be in the classroom, supporting field trips, extracurricular activities,” he said. “With the budget, as it seems to be diminishing, any support we can get from the community, especially supporting literacy, is so important.”

Any books remaining after the sale will be donated to other causes in Tracy that support books and literacy.

Tibebu said he will continue to work with local organizations such as Tracy United to Make a Difference and Key Club International, which is the high school auxiliary club of Kiwanis Club of Tracy, to raise money and collect books in an effort to support literacy.

The native Ethiopian is also a board member for Ethiopia Reads, an organization that supports literacy in that country.

“This is joy for me to be able to do something like this, because I don’t think people understand how important it is to give something back,” Tibebu said. “I am glad I can be an instrument locally, because the community has been very gracious with dropping off books and writing checks to support what I do.”

• Contact Joel Danoy at 830-4229 or

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November 15, 2012
Thank you Tracy Press for publishing this story, hopefully it will help out this cause. Thanks should also go to Mr. Tibebu, love your thinking about paying it forward to the local community.

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