MIAMI (WSVN) - A local Girl Scout is sharing her passion for books, and she’s getting her community ready to read, just in time for summer.

When many students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools have dreams of putting down the books for summer break, 11-year-old Jaaliyah Powell has other plans.

“I noticed there were not very many libraries in Dade County, so I decided to build one for my Bronze project to encourage more people to read more,” she said.

The graduating fifth grader brought the idea to her mother, Latavia Powell-McGaha, who said she hesitated at first and ended up racking up some serious mileage collecting books from Homestead up to West Palm Beach.

“Here we are today, over 500-plus books donated. I am one proud mom,” said Powell-McGaha.

It was all worth it. Powell, soon to graduate from the gifted program at Miami Shores Elementary School, had support from Troop 902.

“With the help of the community and her parents and her family, what she put together was an amazing, amazing job,” said Carrie Garcia, Girl Scout leader at Troop 902.

She also earned donations from Miami city leaders.

“We are presenting you, from Mayor Francis Suarez, $1,000,” said a city official. “On behalf of Chairwoman Christine King — in her absence, she couldn’t be here today — she also donated $1,000 to Shine Bright Outdoor Library.”

Powell put serious work collecting donations for her Bronze Award, the highest award a junior Girl Scout can earn.

She’s got the girl scout motto in mind, helping other children to be prepared by reading more, especially during the summer months, with her Shine Bright Outdoor Library, even if some books are no longer available due to changing Florida laws.

“In schools and in libraries, they’re taking books out of our community, so people won’t be able to read,” she said.

Powell had the official ribbon-cutting on Sunday. Shine Bright is now open for business on Northwest 50th Street, just off 12th Avenue, in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.

“All they have to do is, just when they’re walking by, they can just grab a book, as many as they like,” she said. “They can just keep them as long as they want.”

Powell-McGaha said her daughter might be working toward a major award, but there was a lesson for her in this experience, too.

“I’m glad That I followed her dream,” she said. “Normally parents, we are always the one telling our kids what to do, but this time she was the boss, and I actually listened, and I’m glad I did.”

One of the big donors to the library was the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Northside Station with 200 books.

As of Sunday, Powell has over 1,000 donated books. She is still accepting donations to her library. If you would like to donate, email her at

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