Rita Wiltz started her mobile nonprofit organization more than 10 years ago with one simple goal: delivering free books to underserviced children in the Montgomery County area.
Her vision—Children’s Books on Wheels—has expanded into a diverse network of volunteers working to support other nonprofits by providing struggling families with a variety of free services, such as after-school programing, financial literacy and government assistance.
“When a nonprofit needs volunteers or [if] it needs a service provided, they will call Children’s Books on Wheels, and we will take care of it,” Wiltz said.
Wiltz was a longtime parent volunteer in various youth organizations, school libraries and parent teacher organizations before her quest to create a nonprofit group started in 2002. Wiltz said she realized the children of volunteers were not being productive while their parents worked.
“I remember when I was young, they had [a] Bookmobile [program],” Wiltz said. “The Bookmobile bus would come out to the kids and give them books to read.”
She started donating books her family owned to the children while their parents worked, Wiltz said. Children’s Books on Wheels received its 501(c)(3) status in 2005 and in 2014 donated an estimated total of 8,000 books to families in several counties in the Houston, Magnolia and New Orleans areas.
Children’s Books on Wheels operates primarily out of the Sleepy Hollow Road multipurpose building in Tamina, from which the organization runs an after-school program together with Montgomery County YMCA, Wiltz said.
Children’s Books on Wheels has acquired several nonprofit clients and partners, including Montgomery County Youth Services, Lone Star Family Health Center and the Homeless Coalition of Montgomery County.
Wiltz said the nonprofit’s services are completely mobile and cover three main literacy components: health, education and finance. The organization has also worked with other groups building HIV and AIDS awareness, enrolling families in CHIP and Medicaid and counseling families who have experienced domestic violence.
Children’s Books on Wheels utilizes a combined 30-person staff and volunteer group of certified professionals who have received extensive background checks, Wiltz said. They deliver services and programs in accordance with IRS guidelines and in multiple languages, including Spanish.
“We are culturally sensitive and understand families of different origins need different types of services,” Wiltz said.