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Freshman Zachary Lyons 'Opening Doors' with 2nd Book Drive

There's an adage that says God makes all things possible, not easy. Perhaps that's why service is such an integral component to leading a good, Christian life. You could say that one must have the "spine" for service. Freshman Zachary Lyons has collected more than 2,800 spines and counting...

As Open Door Family Medical Centers, a non-profit community health organization in Westchester and Putnam counties, noted in a year-end Facebook post, books had literally taken over the freshman's home. Having grown up with lots of books and a love of literature, Lyons is now helping Open Door's Reach Out and Read program. Essentially, the program gives children in the community who might not otherwise have books, the opportunity to take books home and keep them.

Two years ago, Lyons collected more than 1,700 books as part of a peer-to-peer campaign during which he logged over 20 hours of community service. That included sorting, boxing and labeling the books, as well as loading some of the donations onto mobile book carts, reading to some of the children and helping them select books to take home and keep.

Though he had already "cleaned out" his family and friends from the year before, this past year, Lyons collated and distributed another 1,100 titles with donations from his community. Naturally, he is already penning the next chapter in his book drive story for this summer.

"I wanted my community service to be something I could do myself and where I could see an immediate impact. When I delivered the books to Open Door after my first book drive, I got to help kids pick out books and read with them," Lyons said. "When I saw how happy the kids were to pick out a book that they could take home, I knew I would be running more book drives in the future."

For his efforts, Lyons received a recognition award at his middle school from the local Lions Club. And according to Open Door, "Zach, you are awesome; thanks so much!"