Woman Asks For Small Donation To Help Oakland School Children, Gets Huge Response

Amika Antoniades-Rao has never shied away from hard work.

It is something, she says, she inherited from her immigrant parents.

"It's in my blood that I've always thought if I wanted something I'm going to have to work really hard for it," Antoniades-Rao said.

So, it is interesting to note that when Antoniades-Rao decided to help some children in her hometown of Oakland she started with the least she could do. She posted about it on Facebook.

"I did it as passively as possible," Antoniades-Rao said because she didn't want to be that "friend" who was always asking others for something.

Her passive approach, however, sparked some real action.

In her post, Antoniades-Rao asked friends to donate books. She was well aware that living in the wealthy community of Saratoga gave her son advantages at school that other children didn't have.

Antoniades-Rao decided she wanted to do something to help those kids and thought her hometown of Oakland was a good place to start. She researched school test scores to identify some schools she thought could use some help.

"I would like to help perhaps support someone who has not been given the same the same supportive kind of embrace of life that I have," Antoniades-Rao said.

Her goal was modest: 100 books. Still, she was worried she wouldn't reach that goal.

She shouldn't have been. Antoniades-Rao's post was shared well beyond her circle of family and friends and books started arriving from all over, from people she didn't even know.

When it was all said and done, she had blown away her goal. "2,502 books," Antoniades-Rao said with a smile. "It was a great moment!"

Even after she donated all those books to one school, another 2,000 books came it.

Antoniades-Rao then contacted Oakland's Reach Academy to schedule a second donation. A dozen enthusiastic fifth-graders helped Antoniades-Rao unload her over-stuffed car and bring the books into the school.

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Reach Academy's principal, Natasha Flint-Moore says the donation will not only help promote literacy within the school but will also allow students to take books home over the summer.

Antoniades-Rao says she wants to do more donations but has no intention to turn her mission, called Share the Shelf, into a big organization. She would rather it inspire others to do what they can where they live.

All those "little" somethings, she believes, can turn into something big.

"One woman. One school at a time. That's it," Antoniades-Rao said.

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