WOODLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A retired Lakewood Public Schools teacher is using her free time to raise money to add more diverse books to the district’s classrooms.

Starting in July 2020, Libby Kinsey and her husband, Jim, took on the task of diversifying children’s books in a predominantly white community. Their purpose is to make the world better for everyone starting at a young age.

“Sometimes, when we don’t know about other cultures, we become afraid of them,” said Libby Kinsey.

During a time of division and separation, Kinsey wants to bring a sense of unity.

“Just how angry and how sad the world seemed, and we were trying to figure out how we could make this world a kinder, gentler place,” Kinsey said.

The former educator asked for donations from family, friends, alumni, and businesses to add more diverse children’s books to the district. Her original goal was $4,000. The GoFundMe now sits at more than $31,000.

Kinsey says there’s more that brings us together than what keeps us apart.

“Some of the stories are just stories of children and commonalities, but a lot of those stories have just a little bit of differences in their culture and we wanted children to see that as interesting,” Kinsey said.

She hopes this project brings forward a new form of understanding and acceptance.

“My end goal is that children in my community, wherever they go, are more curious about people in other cultures, and that they are interested, and that they receive the gifts that those people have to offer in order to make our world a better place,” Kinsey said.

By April, 66 classrooms and libraries in the district will be enhanced with books that feature children of color.

Kinsey says the district’s English goal next year is diversity and she wants to make sure teachers have enough resources to accomplish this.

You can donate to this project online.