José Cárdenas: The Arizona state university students proposing to convert old food trucks into book mobiles for low-income and communities lacking basic resources. We will talk about this in a moment. First a sample of how their idea started.
Alex Miller: Schools across the valley, that had a major issue in the classrooms or schoolwide, applied to the teacher of America ASU partnership class. We got to meet our mentor from NFL Yet Academy and get to work on their library access issue.
Adam Sharp: The NFL leaves a legacy grant every time they have a Super Bowl in a different city. Every NFL Yet has to generate its own funds to stay operational. The challenge is once the NFL leaves, how do you continue funding your building?
Elijah Allan: It’s rather unfortunate that a school down here in Phoenix didn't have a library for their students. BiblioTrucka, we want it to be a new-age global library, that is cost effective, and something that would help not only the community, but also schools, especially charter schools. We want ot use it on a food truck platform, something that is obviously not too expensive, redesigned to where it fits our -- our idea.
Jasmine Clarke-Telfer: The great thing about BiblioTrucka is it can be customized to fit anyone's needs. Here we know we have a large Hispanic population, so we can fill it with books that speak to that population. If we were going to go to the Navajo nation, we can fill it with books that speak to their cultural ties. We’re hoping that since it is so easily customizable that it can be spread across.
José Cárdenas: Joining me now is Adam Sharp, assistant principal for the NFL Yet Academy. And Elijah Alan, ASU student and BiblioTrucka cofounder. Thank you for joining us.
Adam Sharp: Thank you.
José Cárdenas: Before we talk about the project itself. Adam tell me about the NFL Yet center.
Adam Sharp: NFL Yet -- founded in 1995, NFL joined the spirit two in Super Bowl 30. We are an A-rated school by the department of education currently and serve kids pre-K through 12th grade with an enrollment of approximately 800 to 850 students.
José Cárdenas: So, you're A-rated but made that accomplishment without having a library?
Adam Sharp: Two years in a row we have made that accomplishment without having a library.
José Cárdenas: As I understand it, one of the things that you all did to try to deal with that was you submitted an application or some kind of response to the ASU students who were --
Adam Sharp: Correct.
José Cárdenas: Coming out with this proposal. Tell us a bit about that.
Adam Sharp: TFA, teach for America, ASU had an initiative grant that students were looking to fulfill a need in various communities. NFL yet had the void of a library on campus, and applied for assistance in creating a library. And the ASU students with their innovative idea came up with the mobile library that could serve not just us but other schools around us in our community.
José Cárdenas: Elijah, you are one of the ASU students that Adam is referring to and two of your fellow students came up with the idea to do something.
Elijah Allan: Uh-hmm.
José Cárdenas: But not necessarily, you were not necessarily looking for a mobile food truck to convert into a library. Tell us the process by which you came about to A, having something that would be a benefit to schools in need and the selection of the NFL Yet center?
Elijah Allan: We went over like brainstorm, got together, you know, like, went over what kind of idea --
José Cárdenas: Tell me what the program is that your involved in--
Elijah Allan: The class is ASU Changemaking Education -- it's an affiliated with -- it is affiliated with the innovation challenge program that ASU has. So, excuse me -- we basically we got together, brainstormed, came up with just different ideas on how to get a library for the school. And so through that process, we ended up --
José Cárdenas: There were other proposals that were submitted to you, right? And this is the one that you liked and decided --
Elijah Allan: Yeah, yeah, me and my partners we decided this was the school that we wanted to help the most. Their challenge was something that we wanted to help out with, too. And so, during the beginning of the class, we basically brainstormed different ideas of how to come up with the library. One of the idea was a mobile library. I know the school had mentioned getting a cart system, and putting that -- driving that around to different classrooms, and then there was another school that talked about having bags -- different stuff in there and that would be the mobile library, we ended up deciding -- we came across the idea, outfit a truck and customize that and use that as the mobile library and that way we could help out other charter schools, too. We ended up finding out through our research that there are a lot of charter schools that operate without type of primary library resource. And based on that, we thought this would be a good idea to help out a lot of charter schools, too.
José Cárdenas: When the students said here is our proposal, what was your reaction?
Adam Sharp: I was ecstatic. I was thinking the food truck industry--
José Cárdenas: You were not thinking of a food truck when you submitted the application --
Adam Sharp: We were considering computerized carts with E-books or books to move around to the classrooms. With the food truck, a lot more books. Very mobile. It can go to many different schools and with the food truck movement feeding hungry people and tying that in with books, you can help feed the brain and teach kids how to read --
José Cárdenas: So a thematic tie in as well.
Adam Sharp: Correct.
José Cárdenas: So Elijah, what is the status right now of the proposal? You came up with the idea. You worked with Adam and his people to refine it. Where is it right now?
Adam Sharp: Right now, we went ahead. We applied for the innovation challenge, and they just got back to us saying we passed the first round to be able to possibly get selected to do. We also applied to the clean global initiative university. So I think within a couple of months we should hear back from innovation challenge to be able to do a fast pitch to the committee and off of that we will be able to -- if we do get selected, we will possibly win up to $10,000, which we're really hoping that we will be able to win because we really want to get this mobile library started out for the school.
José Cárdenas: And then the Clinton initiative, what would that mean to the program if you were selected?
Elijah Allan: For that one, if we get selected, we would be able to participate in the actual global initiative, like university event, which is held over in Washington, D.C. And if we get selected, we will be able to go to Washington, D.C., present our plan and idea to people there who also could be possible funders for us, too, to be able to make this mobile library actual physical form.
José Cárdenas: It could be really big. I want to come back to the potential of it. But before we do that, Adam, your school serves a particular population and there is a particular need for this kind of service.
Adam Sharp: Correct. We're 100% title one. So low and reduced lunch, 100% of our students. You know, with Arizona's reading rate, third grade, ELL, English language learner population in Arizona, only 44% pass their AIMS reading, compared to all students in Arizona, 77% pass. Our population of high ELL students and low socionomic students, we have to push reading. A lot of the kindergartners come in with zero English and they have to be proficient in three years.
José Cárdenas: So how do you envision the book mobile working? The truck comes and park on the lot and kids can go in and out, or what? --
Adam Sharp: Kids can go in and out and check out books. And we talked about having a vast number of books in a storage facility to swap out the books.
José Cárdenas: We are almost out of time. In terms of other possible opportunities, I understand you are thinking that you might have trucks going to charter schools and to other places where they don't have libraries.
Elijah Allan: We definitely want to be able to further expand our idea. With this first one, we are hoping we can serve four other charter schools and if we can get more other mobile libraries, select different communities -- one place I would like to take it is back to my home community, the Navajo nations.
José Cárdenas: How would you do this? I take it if you get enough money, you're talking not just one truck but several?
Elijah Allan: Yeah, we definitely want to be able to get as many trucks as we can. We have outreach from people from San Antonio, Texas.
José Cárdenas: How is word spreading about the proposal?
Elijah Allan: A lot through the media, ASU, Judy Crawford, reporter there has been helpful for us. And other than that, like just been spreading through word of mouth and mainly the media story that she ran.
José Cárdenas: So there is a lot of potential for this program to not just help kids here, but across the state and even across the country.
Elijah Allan: And cities with low literate cities, that’d be another target area we're looking at.
José Cárdenas: Best of luck to you and to you. Potentially the first recipient and thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about it.
José Cárdenas: That is our show for tonight. For all of us here at eight and "Horizonte," I'm José Cárdenas, have a good night.