First-year Norfolk teacher turns to Nextdoor for book donations — and is overwhelmed by the response


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Buying supplies as a teacher gets expensive fast — especially for those in their first year of teaching.

That’s why one Norfolk Public Schools teacher reached out to her local community for help and received an overwhelming response.

“They have so many options and I definitely never could have done this by myself. This is not everything. I have moreover there on my bookshelf,” said Sabrina Ramilo, who teachers second grade at Camp Allen Elementary in Norfolk.

As Ramilo looked over her new classroom library, a wave of gratitude washed over.

“I cried when I saw the amount,’ Ramilo told 10 On Your Side.

It began as a Nextdoor post asking for book donations but quickly exploded into a classroom library of more than 400 books.

“I was not expecting the response I got at all,” Ramilo stated.

This is Ramilo’s first time teaching, excited to take her 17 students to new heights within the pages of a book and share her love of reading.

“Just seeing that really brought so much joy to my heart because they really want to be here,” Ramilo explained.

Her passion goes back to when she was a little girl.

“I would force everyone that came to our house — no matter who it was, even if I just met them — I would put a book in their lab and tell them to read to me, even if it was the same book 20 times a day. And when I was young, I always had a book in my hand and I brought one everywhere. I loved reading,” Ramilo recalled.

With COVID-19 protocols, every book a student touches in Ramilo’s class must be quarantined for 10 days before it can be added back to the classroom “book nook.”

“That’s a really, really long time to not have enough books because they will always want to read more. And then they want to get more, and then you don’t want to be the one to say ‘I’m sorry I don’t have anything for you right now,'” Ramilo said.

Now, Ramilo’s students don’t have to lose out thanks to the hundreds of donations from the Norfolk community.

“It was just amazing to see how many people were willing to go out of their way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart I really wish that you could see the children’s responses and how excited they are every single day to read and how many times a day they can ask me if they can read their books,” Ramilo stated.

If you would like to donate to a Norfolk Public Schools classroom, contact community engagement coordinator LaEunice Brown at or 757-628-3459 EXT 21129.

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