GREENSBORO, N.C. – While at the barbershop with her little brother, Deja Lennon noticed that he was spending too much time on a tablet as he waited for his turn.
“I noticed there weren’t any books or anything,” Deja said. “I said ‘Mom, I wanna donate some books to barbershops because I just don’t like how this generation is going, it’s all electronics.’”
And so, she did.
For the past two years, Deja has been working on her project she calls Deja’s Books For Boys.
She started using her own allowances to buy used books at thrift stores around Greensboro and later on began collecting friends and family’s old books.
Her mother and father help her deliver and rotate the books every two weeks to over 20 barbershops in Greensboro.
She keeps track of which books are at which barbershop to make sure the kids are getting a variety of genres and stories.
“It’s a very good tool to know how to read, but I think it’s important because
So far, she’s received a lot of support from barbershop and their customers.
“One barbershop, he was like ‘Okay, I’m gonna help you, we’re gonna get some social media,” she said.
Michael Smith at MD’s Barber Shop always looks forward to the new books she brings and has even started given kids snacks and treats if they finish a book.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Smith said. “In here they get to come in, read a few books, expand their mind and on top of that, once they do finish the books, they might get a snack,” he added.
Deja loves reading, but that hasn’t always been the case.
She started reading in kindergarten with her grandmother, but it wasn’t until she reached the third grade that it became one of her favorite things.
Her favorite book is A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.
At 18 years old, Deja is a lot busier than you may think.
She’s an AB Honor student at Greensboro Middle College, she’s the captain of the varsity women’s basketball team at Dudley High School, a volleyball and softball player,she’s a member of National Honor Society, a contestant in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Cotillion, is getting ready to go to college, and loves to help people.
“Even, like, when, you know, how people aren’t the nicest? I still try to give my all because everybody is not the same and you never know what that person is going through,” Deja said.
But even with all those activities, she still finds the time to make sure boys at barbershops get a chance to read a book.
Once Deja picks a school and leaves for college, she hopes her little brother will pick up where she left off.
“He’s gonna have to step up and, you know, put on his big boy shoes and go get books,” Deja said.
She’s also considering the possibility of taking the project with her to school.
If you would like to donate books for Deja's project, you can reach her on Facebook or call 336-273-0728, 336-455-6283.
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