Robotics team partners with Operation Paperback

Robotics FTC Team 4717 has partnered with Operation Paperback to collect books and send them to military members


photo by Operation Paperback

Military members pose for a photo with books sent by Operation Paperback volunteers. In addition to sending normal shipments, the charity also does special projects such as multiple copies of books for military book clubs, and bookshelves full of professional development books for active-duty units.

“There are no words to express our gratitude. You have given books to over 400 soldiers in my unit. Thank you so much from us here at Fort Hood Texas!” -Nubia C (Poland & Germany)

“I could not thank you enough for the books that our family has received. Our 4 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with autism and these books have created a bond between her and older brother I can’t even describe. We are truly blessed!” -Rebecca D (United States)


When sophomore Jensen Miller decided to partner with Operation Paperback, it was because the charity had made this same impact on his life. 

“My dad was in the Navy for the majority of my life. So when I lived in San Diego, my dad was stationed in Korea. And we were very much helped by Operation Paperback. They gave us a lot of books and they gave my dad a lot of books,” he said.

For this reason, the robotics First Tech Challenge Team 4717, the Mechromancers, has partnered with Operation Paperback and will be collecting books through the end of April to send to military members overseas. Book donations may be dropped off at the front office and monetary donations may be made here

Operation Paperback is a nonprofit organization led by president Chrissy Honeywell. When her late husband was deployed to Kuwait, he mentioned that many of the airmen were bored when they were off-duty. In response, Honeywell’s father sent hundreds of books to Kuwait, and continued to solicit books from friends and family, thus giving birth to Operation Paperback. Since its founding in 1999, Operation Paperback has shipped 2.9 million books to American troops, veterans and military families. 

Once Miller’s initiative was approved by principal Robert Frasca and robotics mentor Po Dickison, he registered on Operation Paperback’s website and began spreading the word. Through social media posts, posters and word-of-mouth, Miller generated publicity for the charity and has managed to collect more than 20 books so far. 

Miller himself donated seven of his books, and Dickison contributed some of the library’s old books. Although Miller did not set an official goal, he hopes the donations will still have an impact. 

“We just want to try and make a sizable donation to something that will make a difference,” Miller said. 

In the past, the robotics team partnered with Ronald McDonald House charities to cook and spend time with sick kids, but this year, they decided to partner with Operation Paperback due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

“It was logistically the easiest thing in terms of organizing because we’re just collecting and then shipping. It didn’t require us to go anywhere, like organize transportation for kids and things like that, especially during COVID,” Dickison said. 

Starting this year, the team plans to collect books annually. Dickison encourages students to donate gently used books, which can be brought to the collection box at the front office. 

“What was a treasure to you once may be somebody else’s,” Dickison said. “So if you’re willing to part with it, please donate.”