About Us

Our Mission

At Books are the Beginning, our mission is to provide children, students, and teachers in impoverished areas of the world with the books and resources necessary for a proper education. Books are the Beginning can only continue with the support of other schools and individuals who donate their unused books that are then cataloged and labeled for a designated library in need. Over the last 8 years, Books are the Beginning has donated more than 80,000 books to schools and libraries all over the world as well as built libraries and made improvements to several schools. We want to build a better tomorrow for the children of the world and books are the beginning.

Projects by region.
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Fall Into Reading
BATB is passionate about literacy here in America. Studies show there is a 30 million word gap between those kindergarten children who grew up with books in their home and those that did not. Once we heard of this gap, we began to find ways to partner with schools to get books into the hands of children and increase the number of books in their school library. Building on relationships with educators and administrators in North Texas, Central Texas, and Mississippi, we are tackling illiteracy one book at a time.
Uganda/Kenya Education
BATB’s continues to work in impoverished areas of Uganda by building libraries, training teachers and head teachers in training conferences, developing inquiry based science lessons aligned to the Uganda Standards, and providing teacher scholarships for teachers to complete their dream of becoming a teacher by graduating from the university.  

Heritage

Our heritage is a special one. We are an organization of passionate members who have chosen to dedicate their time, love, and money to support the children and teachers of impoverished areas of the world.

When Books are the Beginning began in 2009, we knew there was a lack of books and proper library resources in parts of the world and we knew we could fix that problem. We made it our mission to collect and send books to those children in need. We had no idea this mission would come so far in so little time. Since our beginning we have donated close to 100,000 books and have even began building libraries and donating education supplies and training to teachers and children in schools across the world.

Our work has a magnificent impact on the schools and communities we serve. From schools across the United States to schools in Uganda and Kenya, Books are the Beginning is molding the minds of young students and teachers each day. Books truly are the beginning of education and we plan to continue our work until no child is left without a book in hand and and education available.

Board of Directors

Mike Thrasher

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


Mike received his Bachelor in Business Administrations from Angelo State University in 1980. After spending many years working for Thrasher Trucking Company and managing The Spring Christian Shoppe, he and his wife Mary Thrasher began Thrasher Consulting Company, an educational consulting company. Mike traveled to Uganda in 2006 and recognized a need for books, supplies, and training in which he knew he could help. He built his first library in Uganda in 2009 and serves as the Chairman and CEO of Books are the Beginning.

Robert Thetford


Robert is an attorney and adviser who has ten years of experience in public policy, communications and public relations. Robert holds a Juris Doctorate from SMU Dedman School of Law, a Masters of Public Administration from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University. Robert and his wife, Staci and daughter Laura, reside in Dallas, Texas.

James Stafford


Discipline, Diversity, and Determination are among the attributes that separates Mr. Safford from other litigation attorneys. The combination of leadership skills gained from his military experiences, the creativity and management involved with his position in Education assist him in being able to thoroughly understand and easily relate to the needs of his clients. Currently James is an associate attorney for Scheef & Stone, LLP and focuses his practice in a diverse range of business litigation and transactional matters on behalf of the firm’s clients.  In addition to private practice, Mr. Stafford serves as a JAG attorney in the United States Army Reserves. Before practicing law, James spent five years as a classroom teacher (high school band director) in the Dallas Independent School District. James, his wife Saosat, and three young daughters, live just north of Dallas, Tx.

Mary Thrasher

Secretary


Mary holds a Masters of Education in Technology Educational Leadership from Lamar University and a Bachelor of Arts from Angelo State University. She currently uses her 30 years of experience in the field of education in her current job as an Instructional Coach for San Marcos CISD. Mary brings her passion for student’s learning and improving teaching instruction into her involvement with Books are the Beginning. As a lifelong learner herself, Mary continues to grow professionally in the field of education and reaching the hard to teach students and students in poverty.

Reid Richards


Reid currently works with robotics at the Caterpillar Plant in Sequin where he enjoys keeping the robots in line.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. Reid is an Eagle Scout and has always-valued reading contributing to his community.  He enjoys using his engineering skills to plan the packing of the containers to ensure optimum weight and space.  He currently resides in San Marcos, Texas.

Rev. Allan Hamlin

Advisory Non-voting Member


Allan has a history in the military serving in the the Air Force as a helicopter ground school instructor from 1952 to 1961 stationed at Camp Gary in San Marcos, Texas. He received his education at Baylor University and Southwestern Theological Seminary before serving as a Minister of Music at Southern Baptists Churches in Texas and Arizona. In 1977, he started his career as Director of Student Activities and Director of Choir and Band at San Marcos Baptist Academy in which his programs received high recognition and performed all over the world

Staci Thetford

Treasurer


Staci currently serves as an Analyst at Sendero Business Services where she is responsible for the design and development of corporate training curriculum for online and classroom learning. Prior to her work as a business consultant, Staci worked at the City of Dallas in public relations. Staci holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Public Administration from Texas A&M University.  Staci and her husband, Robert and daughter Laura, live in Dallas, Texas.

Marc Applewhite


Marc taught at the elementary level for twenty-four years, retiring from Monahans Wickett Pyote Independent School District in May 2011. An active member of Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, Marc serves as deacon and choir member. He has two married children and two grandsons. He traveled to Uganda for the first time in 2009 where he helped set up the first library at Lulwanda Children’s Home. God has continued to allow him and Glenna to go every year since. Marc and Glenna reside in Lubbock, Texas

Mary Jane Hamlin

Advisory Non-voting Members


Mary Jane received her degree in education from Midwestern University during which her passion for early childhood education continued to develop. Mary Jane assumed leadership roles in childcare programs at several churches where her husband, Allan, served as the minister. Mary Jane owned her own child care program until moving to San Marcos where she managed a dry cleaning business for 7 years until beginning a 20-year career at Butler Building Manufacturers until retirement in 2004. She now enjoys time with family, reading, gardening, and playing video games at her home in San Marcos.

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