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Your Children’s Bookshelf is a 501(c)(3) organization
All donations are tax deductible.

ONE Book...ONE Child...ONE Connection...Unlimited Possibilities...

Our Volunteers

YCB could not accomplish our goals without the support, involvement and enthusiasm of our committed volunteers.

Joseph Miller

Joseph Miller, Founder

Joseph Miller — 

Mary Jane and I were married for over 50 years and I admired the way she was always a champion to children – she was a teacher, a mother to our four daughters, a lecturer at schools, and most notably, an author of four award winning books for youngsters: Me and My Name; Fast Forward; Going the Distance; and Upside Down.

After Mary died, my children and I felt it was important to continue her work as a children’s advocate. She received such exemplary care at her nursing facility that we decided to honor her memory by providing free books to the children of the staff.

After several years, we expanded our donations to children at other charitable institutions, food pantries, and in partnership with the Literacy of DuPage organization. Thus was conceived the idea of Your Children’s Bookshelf, a recognized 501(c)(3) charity.


Rick Wright

Rick Wright, Founder

Rick Wright — 

I have been with Karen and Joe since the very beginning of Your Children's Bookshelf. Joe and I would get in my van to pick up books, take them back to the office to be sorted, get them cleaned/prepared and then load them back into the van to get them off to the children.

As our vision grew our footprint grew, and Joe and I found ourselves driving all over the the Chicago metro area - to health care facilities, garage sales, book-fairs, almost anywhere we could find gently used books.

As Your Children's Bookshelf vision and mission has expanded to put a FREE book in the hands of every child who wants them, my enthusiasm and excitement has grown right along with it. I've been fortunate to be part of making this happen, and very excited for the future, but we may need a larger van!!!!


jim boston

Jim Boston, Development Director

Jim Boston — 

Sales Professional for over 30 years within the Information Technology Sector. Currently working on his second career within the Non-Profit space. Excited for the opportunity to help foster the increase of reading with young children.

As Development Director I’m tasked with raising money for our 501(c)(3) organization along with working with our Program Partners on several fronts.

Having 3 grown children, with 2 in the military (Navy and Air-force) and the other away at college, this provides Jim lots of free time (aka Boredom). So being able to assist in this worthy cause is a life long dream of being able to give back.

If you would like to donate please contact me directly at (630) 280-0127 or use our convenient link provided on our home page. All donations are tax deductible.


Leanne Cochrane

Leanne Cochrane, Program Operations

Leanne Cochrane — 

As the youngest child of Mary Jane Miller, Leanne Cochrane is very proud to be part of the YCB volunteer team and has a strong sense of devotion to the YCB mission inspired by her mom. One of Leanne’s greatest childhood memories is her mom reading “The Secret Garden” to her from an edition that her mom had kept since she was a child.

Leanne has three children and enjoyed volunteering for many years in their classrooms and Marching Band competitions. Those experiences provided a great sense of support and dedication through the community. With her children now grown, she is excited to continue her volunteer efforts at YCB.

Leanne feels a deep appreciation for being a part of this organization. Through YCB, she is able to share in the encouragement and love of reading and witness children’s joy as they choose a book that has special meaning to them.


Joan Wozniak

Joan Wozniak, Program Operations

Joan Wozniak — 

A lifelong, avid reader herself (sometimes, Joan admits, to the postponement of doing her routine household tasks!), she is thrilled at the possibility that her efforts on behalf of YCB contribute to instilling in children that same passion for reading that has been a highlight of her own life. “I’ve never considered my reading to be a waste of time,” says Joan, “even when there are dishes waiting to be done. For me, reading is about learning new things; understanding the human condition; for relaxation or even an escape from stress.”

Retired now after a career in administrative support, Joan enjoys indulging in long hours of reading, in her many handcrafting hobbies, in Sudoku and crossword puzzles, and in keeping up with the lives and adventures of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.


Colette Bachtell

Colette Bachtell, Volunteer

Colette Bachtell — 

The mission of Your Children’s Bookshelf is very dear to my heart. Being able to instill the life-long love of reading in a child is one of the best gifts you can give them. Two of my life passions have always been books and children so I was thrilled when YCB asked me to join their staff! I taught first grade for many years and my favorite part of each day was reading out loud to my class. I loved how I was able to take the children to other places in their minds and expand their imaginations by just reading a book. Once I had a family of my own, reading out loud to my children was a daily part of our day. To this day I am an avid reader and I always find time each day to pick up a book.

I am amazed by how YCB has grown so much since I joined the group about 2 years ago. Organizing the books and selecting specific books for each child’s request is a very satisfying task for me. Seeing the smiles and excitement on each child’s face at YCB book fairs when they proudly select their very own books brings me joy! I look forward to contributing to the growth and development of this fine organization knowing that we possibly can change a child’s life just by giving them a book!


Katie-Erickson, spanish podcast reader

Katie Erickson, Volunteer, Spanish Podcast Reader

Katie Erickson — 

As Mary Jane's granddaughter and a bilingual educator, Katie considers Your Children's Bookshelf a way to carry on her grandmother's legacy of literacy. One of Katie's fondest memories of her grandmother was spending time with her in bookshops and being able to pick out a new book to take home; a tradition she will carry on with her own children. Her grandmother always loved to volunteer to read to Katie's classes and the love of literature radiated from her spirit. This organization provides an opportunity to reach children at such a critical age and help them develop a love of reading. Katie was fortunate to help her grandmother work on some of her literature which inspired her to write. Katie and her sisters miss their grandmother and are happy to know that she continues to reach children book by book. As Mary Jane once said " My own stories like a quilt are woven piece by piece from an experience, a particular place, a feeling, a question, a memory." Mary Jane's stories and legacy live on as she continues to inspire a love of reading.


Anna Boston

Anna Boston, Volunteer, Podcast Reader

Anna Boston — 

As I have always loved to help kids and their families, when I received this opportunity to read for Your Children's Bookshelf I was super excited. I am majoring in Special Education and Elementary Education at Arizona State University. Since I was young my heart has always been drawn towards helping children, and I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher. Reading for YCB makes my love and want to be a teacher grow every time I help.


Rhea Mehta

Rhea Mehta, Volunteer

Rhea Mehta — 

I am a secondary school student in London, England. I started reading at the age of 3 and haven't put books down since! I am especially honoured to be a part of Your Children's Bookshelf as a native Chicagoan and bookworm! I really support the organisation's commitment to promoting literacy and hope that I can motivate more children to embrace reading and the smiles, limitless imagination and vast possibilities that come with it.


"Unconditional love, a belief in a higher power, the joy of laughter, and learning to read are the finest gifts we can give our children. From these they develop a sense of self-worth, perspectives for life's lessons, and a passport to knowledge and adventure." — Anne J. Hudson

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