Little Wolf DVO is the gift that keeps on giving and here’s why
Does the name Little Wolf DVO ring a bell? It’s probably because it sounds like the Big Bad Wolf -- the world’s largest book sale -- and the inspiration for this initiative may have something to do with this one. Hence, the name Little Wolf. Silly but witty, right?
Little Wolf DVO is the first pay-it-forward book cycle based in Davao founded by Lyen Krenz Yap. Lyen is a 22-year-old Bachelor of Arts major in Psychology, minor in Sociology graduate from Ateneo de Davao University. What started as a “small and unassuming idea in December 2018” where it was just her selling her pre-loved books to make space for the books she bought from Big Bad Wolf has now become a growing non-profit organization that has helped and saved lives; one book at a time.
“Unexpectedly, more people wanted to donate their books and more people wanted to buy them; this gave me the idea of a pay-it-forward cycle, connecting the two types of readers: the ones that have way too many books that need to free their shelves and others who want to develop their reading habit but lacking the budget to expand their collection,” Lyen shared when asked about the inspiration behind catapulting Little Wolf DVO.
But more than just a pay-it-forward book sale, Little Wolf DVO aims to help the communities that are in need of such. “I created Little Wolf Davao to serve as a medium for people to, in their own little way, help causes that they care about. It was designed so each cycle is dynamic and responds to a specific need of the community at a time.”
As of writing, there are at least three organizations and institutions that Little Wolf DVO has helped after its successful four-cycle run. Some of these include Haribon Organization, Living Stones Orphanage, and San Pedro Hospital. For the next cycles, Little Wolf DVO aims to help our front liners in Davao Medical School Foundation and Southern Philippines Medical Center who are in need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
In this special feature story, The Middle Mag PH spoke with the founder herself and talked more about Little Wolf DVO, the importance of supporting local initiatives like this one, the future plans of Little Wolf DVO, and more.
Who are some of your beneficiaries and how did this initiative help them?
Little Wolf Davao, after 4 Book Cycles and selling almost a hundred books, have been able to support the following initiatives:
Haribon Foundation - From trees, to books, to trees once again, a full cycle. Little Wolf Davao supports forest conservation and biodiversity efforts, and it was able to adopt an entire Forest Lot through Haribon Foundation’s Adopt a Forest program. LWD got in touch with Sir Joseph Senga, the partnerships officer at Haribon Foundation, and he shared that adopting the Forest Lot is inclusive of initial seedling production, community training, nursery establishment, livelihood incentive, site preparation, maintenance, and monitoring for 3 years.
Living Stones Orphanage - LWD is one of the official sponsors of this local orphanage, located at 212 Solar St., Talomo, Davao City. We have held two Book Turnover Events at the orphanage, which includes donating the unsold books (of appropriate genre) to the children and a small party that includes games and snacks, where Little Wolf Volunteers interact and bond with the kids to make the turnover more personal. I envisioned that the experience would be a fulfilling and meaningful one both for the children and the volunteers. As of the moment, the 5th cycle will be providing groceries and other necessities to the orphanage, as their supplies have been impacted by the pandemic.
San Pedro Hospital - After almost a year-long hiatus and a delayed re-launch, Little Wolf Davao returned to heed the call of our hardworking frontliners amidst the pandemic. After coordinating with the head nurse, we were able to donate 30 pcs of Face Shields, 100 pcs of Face Masks, and 1 Medical-Grade PPE Suit to the Emergency Room of San Pedro Hospital.
What inspired you to launch the said initiative?
I suppose it really began with my desire to share to other people the stories and emotions that my books brought me, a concept of giving the books a second home and allowing someone else to enjoy them - to giggle over when a beloved character fumbles or scream in your pillow during their cringe moment or even be surprised at the sunrise when all you promised was “one more chapter”. It’s a collective feeling that books can provide, and it’s comforting, wonderful, and meant to be shared.
What are the future plans for this initiative?
The long-term goals for this nonprofit is expansion and sustainability - to help as many people as it can for as long as it can. I was actually able to achieve a milestone recently, which was enabling nationwide shipping so Little Wolf Davao can be one step closer to expanding nationwide. As a concept, Little Wolf can branch out to other neighboring cities (i.e., “Little Wolf GenSan”, “Little Wolf Cotabato”, “LIttle Wolf Tagum”) where the Book Cycle system can be implemented and it can address local community needs while simultaneously allowing greater accessibility to literature in those areas.
How is the response so far from those who participated?
Overwhelmingly supportive, both on the Donator’s Side and the Buyer’s Side! I find people to be generally helpful as long as you give them an opportunity to help, and sponsorships have been coming in so generously that the inventory until the 6th Cycle has been filled up. This is a very challenging time for all of us, and it’s heartwarming to see people giving what little they have to support the cause.
My friends have helped a lot in getting the word out, simple things like adding a post to their story or retweeting New Cycle Announcements already helps towards the promotion and reaching more people, which is a necessity in today’s ever competitive online space. My mother is also very much into it, even way back when I was balancing running this nonprofit with my university internships, allowing me to turn a part of our office space at home into a tiny Little Wolf Headquarters where I store Book Inventory and do packaging.
How is it like to handle this cause?
It is 99% organization, 1% stress, 1% luck. Fortunately for me my workaholic type A personality self absolutely adores planning and organizing, and, as if by orchestration, my experience at university gave me the skills I needed to pursue the project. Being a member of the International Communications and Promotions Office during university helped me gain the social media management, photography, and graphic design expertise, and the Accountancy units I earned allowed me to create a working liquidation sheet.
It takes a lot, not going to lie. Some days it goes well and you have everything queued up and you’re excited, some days you don’t even make it to your book sale quota and you get heavy impostor syndrome. But there’s something to be said about building a passion project from the ground up and seeing it evolve into this complex pay-it-forward system that can serve as a generational framework for other communities. I was actually able to discuss it at length with Dr. Prabhath Patabendi, my friend, colleague, and one of the advisors to the president of Indonesia. It gives me hope and structure for the future, and it gives me the skills I need to create something bigger.
Why do you think it is highly important to support this cause?
Simple. Look around you: be aware of current events, of the country’s current political and economic climate, of the injustices that the system lets slip by. Next, look inside yourself: be aware of your privilege, your access to information and knowledge that some people are not as fortunate to have. If you see others trying to make the world a better place, as Little Wolf Davao is trying to, perhaps the least you can do is to care.
Why do you think reading is important?
Reading, and Literature, is a great many things. It is the stressful requirement you have to go through to pass your class, it is having inexplicable feelings you have yet to learn to say described perfectly in words on pages, it is the crush on a fictional character. But perhaps most importantly, it is the pen that allowed the liberation of the Philippines. It is access to Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, words that related to Filipino nationalism, that sparked a revolution. I find it important to remember that.
However, in the end, reading is powerful, yes, but it’s not everything. The overall literacy rates of our third world country isn’t at all competitive. There is a greater educational dissonance here, and Little Wolf Davao is just the beginning. We’re taking it one paw in front of the other, one book at a time.