The donated books just keep coming -- ever since 14-year-olds Kendall Bradley and Megan Lough of Eagan launched a collection drive this summer to earn a top Girl Scouts honor.

The lifelong friends started their community service project by researching the benefits of early childhood literacy and putting that information into a flier that they circulated in their churches and neighborhoods. Before long, stacks of books started filling up the bins they placed at their churches and libraries, and outside their homes.

They had hoped to collect 500 new and gently used board books for needy families -- with the belief that board books would be more durable and useful for new parents. In two weeks, they will turn more than 900 books to Lifetrack Resources, a non-profit organization that works with at-risk families on positive parenting and child development. The books will be given to impoverished parents whose children have developmental or emotional disorders.

"One of the goals the program seeks to accomplish is learning readiness for children under five years of age," said Kimberly Mills of Lifetrack. "This goal is often challenging to accomplish because many low income homes have few or no books in their homes."

Lough and Bradley had volunteered before -- packing food at Feed My Starving Children or working in their church nurseries -- but they had never organized their own project. Lough, a freshman at Eagan High School, suspects that the drive touched a sympathetic nerve with parents, who remember reading to their own children and how important that was in their bonding and development.

"To imagine not reading to their kids until they get to preschool or age four or whatever, they probably thought that was crazy," Lough said.

Tammy Lough is proud of the effort by her daughter, and remembers her favorite book from early childhood -- The Gingerbread Man.

"I would read that one over and over to her," she recalled.

Cool Things Kids Do is an occasional series on the extraordinary kids in this community doing extraordinary things for their community. Know of any kids doing amazing things, big or small? Email

Prior blogs from the series:
  1. Chaska teen speaks at White House
  2. Lemonade fundraiser for cancer victim
  3. Growing Veggies and Feeding the Hungry
  4. 10th Grader Earns Top Nature Photo Honor


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