What started as a teen wanting to help sick kids turned into the largest donation of books ever to Dell Children’s Medical Center. Shelby Romero, a 15-year-old at Hutto High School and daughter of National Instruments (NI) employee Steven Romero, is behind the donation of 8,658 books to the hospital.
It all started when Shelby asked to go on a tour of Dell Children’s to discover ways to help the children there. She learned that each patient receives two books before going home. The hospital can go through 300 books a month! Shelby saw this great need and wanted to make sure the hospital could always provide these presents to its patients.
For being only a sophomore in high school, Shelby sure knows how to pull together a drive. Shelby got all six Barnes and Noble stores in Austin to sponsor this drive. She went to the principals and leaders of student organizations around Austin to gather volunteers for the drive. Shelby set up 500 volunteer slots to be filled throughout the week. At the store the volunteers would hand out a card that Dell Children’s had designed advertising the book drive. National Instruments actually printed 20,000 of these cards. Barnes and Noble customers responded very well to the drive. Some would come into the store with hundreds of books to donate while others would simply buy books on the spot. Each time a book was donated Barnes and Noble would ring a bell at the check-out counter to celebrate the good deed! Shelby developed an outstanding model that contributed to the success of the book drive.
Charley Carroll, community relations manager at the Arboretum store location, said: “She’s a phenomenal girl…[Shelby] put together a spreadsheet so people could go online and sign up for the volunteer shifts. She sent us emails letting us know when volunteers would be coming and when volunteers would be coming in to pick up the books. She was on top of it.” It was easy for people around the community to get on board with Shelby’s cause. Her passion for helping others is contagious. She shows how much fun community service can be and her friends were eager to help. She got her whole volleyball team to run volunteer shifts! This is just one of the incredible things Shelby has done for our community. Her spirit for helping others all started when she joined the 4-H club at age 8. As community service officer in her Hoofpicks club, Shelby created a benefit bike ride to benefit the R.O.C.K. (Ride On Center for Kids) in Georgetown. This effort resulted in 4 years of dedication to the ROCK and she helped raise over $600,000 in order to build a covered arena for the kids so they could ride the horses in rain or hot Texas heat.
In April 2012 we had the honor of recognizing Shelby for her great deed, and presented her with a $1,000 pay-it-forward donation to the Children’s Medical Center Foundation of Central Texas.