We had the good fortune of connecting with Alejandro Barriga and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alejandro, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Alejandro Barriga, creator and founder of my non-profit organization, Books For You. I am a young leader who works hard for my community; we collect used or new books and notebooks from communities around Florida. The collected books are distributed to communities or organizations in need of literature. Books for You has been working for ten months, so far, we have collected more than 12,000 thousand books and donated more than 9,000 books. Books for You donated more than 9,000 books in 9 cities in South Florida such as Miami Fl, Homestead Fl, Florida City Fl, Pahokee Fl, Indiantown Fl, La Belle Fl, Okeechobee Fl, Ruskin Fl, Immokalee Fl, and internationally like Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Venezuela. We still are active finding new communities to reach out to and donate to. We continue to contact other organizations in other states and countries to which, through our non-profit organization, we can send our donation of books.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am proud of my organization’s work for the community. To be able to carry the number of books that have been redistributed throughout the state of Florida and internationally, we have given knowledge to impoverished communities, Our operation is not easy; it requires good logistics and heavy work to coordinate everything successfully. Some of the jobs listed are the daily routine for running Books for You, announcements, collection coordination, organization of books by grade, counting, and packing to later contact organizations or communities in need to whom Books for You will donate them. Books For You started in mid-March. The designing of boxes with logos began and establishing relationships with tutoring centers all around the City of Doral. These tutoring centers gave us an advantage and a quick start to collecting books since they were visited by families that would always hold piles of new books. Noticing the great disposal of unused books as we live in a virtual world. Even though we started on a fast track, unfortunately, we hit a wall when the pandemic began to close business, and the stay at home orders from the government started. I thought that everything was over, that It was a great challenge that I had to overcome. Still, far from failing, it filled me with motivation, and that the way to continue collecting my books was so that we had to implement our social networking strategies to continue with our goal. We began working with WhatsApp to send messages to everyone we knew asking for book donations. Additionally, we opened an Instagram account (@bfymiami) to expand even further, When I bring my book donations, I realize the interest of many children, youth, and adults in reading, but with the few resources they obtain, they cannot reach them through technology and even less physically. When you give away knowledge, you sow that person with an interest and love for reading, the more readers we have, the better-prepared people we will have in the future. This is the motivation and goal of my organization, Books for You. Through Books for You, I have reached communities that I would never have known but had been with my organization; this is something that no one imagines, and no one believes exists, until you see it. It is one of the most critical tasks that I have had in my life to arrive with my books where not even technology exists, to touch each person who wants it and thus make them more prepared and educated communities. I want people to associate me with my organization and me as those who brought knowledge to those forgotten communities lacking basic needs. A book is a luxury that is impossible to acquire. .
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Miami is an incredible city where I was born, and it is multicultural. From the different cultures, their languages, their traditions, their food, their music, their dances, so the first thing I would do would be to lodge you in the incredible hotels of Miami Beach. After the hotel, I would explain everything related to our art Deco architecture, when it originated and why it represents us. Then I would take you to try our culinary. Since there is no single meal that represents Miami but a diversity of foods, we would start with Cuban food in the famous Versailles restaurant; we would have a diverse menu. We would know 8th street that is very emblematic for the Cuban people. On the third day, we will visit the beautiful white beaches of Miami Beach with their soft sand, where enjoying the warm sea is one of every tourist’s pleasures. We could not miss a walk through the Everglades, where you will see a city run by the descendants of the Miccosukee Indians, where they have managed to maintain their own culture. From them, we will learn about their food and their habits. We will walk in their air-powered boats that take us through the lakes and canals, where we will find species such as crocodiles, snakes, and all kinds of reptiles. Knowing the Viscaya palace is a meeting point built between 1914 and 1916 in the Neo-Baroque architectural style and has maintained its importance for years. Viscaya palace is an impeccable construction worthy of admiration for its style and that of its gardens and its view towards the Bay of Biscayne. We could not stop cycling through Coral Gables, where we would explore the city’s exciting history; we would swim in the Venetian pool, opened in 1924 and Mediterranean style. It is one of the emblematic places of Coral Gables. Finally, we would visit the financial center of Miami, Brickell, where companies as important as AON. BNY Mellon, its beautiful skyscrapers that illuminate the night and the hectic life that is lived there, nothing like walking along the bay and being able to taste in one of its restaurants.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Books for You couldn’t have been this successful without the help and guidance of the people and organization/locals listed… -Juan Cassimiro ( Cassimiro Global Foundation ) ( Biznovator Camp ) Board Member of Books For You -Andres Asion ( Overtown Youth Center ) Board Member of Books For You -Belinda Leon ( School Councilor) -Elizabeth Canchola ( Rural Neighborhood) – Digna Cabral ( Councilwoman City of Doral ) – Laura Tobi ( The Art Shack Doral ) Board Member of Books For You
Facebook: BOOKS For You MIAMI
Youtube: In Progress
Other: The other social networks are in process