The mission of the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation is to advance healthy development of young minds through literacy programs that encourage early reading, imagination, and physical activity. The Literacy Foundation is a Charitable 501(c)(3) Non-Profit guided by the needs and involvement of the communities of which it serves.
The Foundation is supported entirely by fundraising efforts and donations. Our largest and most prominent fundraising event is The Journey to the North Pole (previously called The Polar Express Event of New England®). We are the original event of this kind and the only one that fully engages guests as if they were living the book.
In December of 1995, in North Conway, NH, the Journey to the North Pole™ Event first reenacted the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsberg. Following the book, the magical trip to the “North Pole” had begun. With exclusive treats, just like the book, and gifts, the two-hour holiday journey includes a train ride to the North Pole, and an enchanting walk to the North Pole Theater where visitors are greeted by a “sea of elves”, a retelling of the book and a visit from Santa himself. By the second year of the event, tickets sold out within two weeks. By the third year the event sold out in a matter of days. In response to the popularity of the event, a lottery system was put in place to allow more people to have a fair chance to purchase tickets.
Journey to the North Pole™ immediately gave back to the community after the first running of the event with $1000 awarded to the NH Council on Literacy. Fast forward to 2014 and now known as the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation, over $2 million has been gifted through literacy programs, scholarships, grants and book distributions in New Hampshire and Western Maine.
Believe in Books Literacy Foundation began as a family literacy initiative to provide children with Book Bags filled with quality children’s books. Three local elementary schools were provided nine Book Bags each with the goal to reach 100 bags per school for area children. In May of 1998, the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation was officially designated a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation by the IRS. By November, the Foundation reached their Book Bag goal and had already donated more than $25,000 to literacy programs while the bookbag program expanded to two more local schools. The Believe in Books Literacy Foundation was well on its way to having an encouraging impact on children throughout the area.
With outreach programs like “Books in Character”, “Books from Birth” and our “Book Bag Program”, the foundation reaches out to families and children throughout Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine. All of our programs and events are made possible by fundraising and our children’s literacy programs are offered FREE and are open to the public.
In 2003, land in Intervale, NH was acquired by the Foundation. This property is now the “100 Acre Wood”, home to the 300-seat “Theater in the Wood”, “Trails in the Wood” trail system, Sugar Shack maple sugar house and Foundation office.
The Theater in the Wood hosts Children’s Theater Series, Main Stage Concert Series, Character Breakfasts and the Journey to the North Pole™ Event. The theater offers an intimate space to experience a variety of children’s events, theater and concerts and is occasionally used by other groups.