It has been three-and-a-half months since young Leyla Beban's life was tragically ended when she collided with a truck while riding her bike to school.
The many friends and loved ones she left behind have been mourning Leyla's loss ever since.
For one group of Leyla's friends, their grief inspired a special project in her honor - the Leyla Beban Book Drive.
The friends organizing the book drive were fellow students of Leyla's at Woodside High School, and many had known her as far back as kindergarten.
They said, a book drive sounded like a perfect idea because Leyla was the most passionate reader they'd ever known.
Their goal is to collect at least 1,000 books, and donate them in Leyla's honor to places like the Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services department for summer camps and other children's activities, to local schools, and to Stanford Hospital, where doctors tried desperately to save Leyla's life after the accident.
"She loved to read, and we thought it would be a really good idea to help remember her," said Leyla's friend Mariana Silverman, a fellow freshman at Woodside. "We'd always see her reading, even around the playground when she was in sixth grade, so we really wanted to honor her with a book drive."
"I remember when we were little, no matter what, Leyla would always read - at lunch, and at recess, and sometimes she would even go into the bathroom and read because it was warm and quiet there," said her friend, Michaela Krampert, also a freshman at Woodside.
Leyla's friends say, some of her favorite series to read included the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini, the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, and many others.
"She mostly just read - everything," said Adriana Mora, also a freshman at Woodside. "If she didn't have a book, I'd see her pick up a magazine, or I even saw her just pick up a dictionary once."
The girls say, there is now a club within Woodside High that focuses on organizing the Leyla Beban Book Drive. They have put bins at a number of local businesses around town where people can bring books to donate, including:
- Cafe La Tartine, Theater Way, downtown Redwood City
- Woodside High School, 199 Churchill Way, Woodside
- Woodside Library, 3140 Woodside Road, Woodside
- Rouge Salon, 980 Main St., Redwood City
- Sequoia YMCA, 1445 Hudson St., Redwood City
- Key Market, Roosevelt Plaza, 1063 Upton St., Redwood City
- Adelante School, 3150 Granger Way, Redwood City
- Powerhouse Gym, 2075 Broadway, downtown Redwood City
- Chef Shop, 705 Laurel St., San Carlos
- Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley
The current drive will continue through April 1, but the girls say it will be an annual drive. They say, the drive has been a big success so far, and everyone they meet seems eager to help honor Leyla, even if they didn't know her.
"We've had a lot of books come in; I'm pretty sure we have over 1,000 so far," said Michaela.
To this day, a makeshift memorial still stands at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas, where Leyla's accident took place - the largest piece being a bicycle painted all in white for their friend, who is now with the angels, they say.
"I have this memory of Leyla, in fourth grade, when I went to her birthday party and we went to Planet Granite and Round Table Pizza. I remember her sister wanting a stuffed animal from the claw machine, and Leyla got a quarter from her dad and won it from the machine and gave it to her. That's one of my favorite memories of her," said Mariana.
"We hope this book drive will help spread Leyla's love of reading throughout the community," reads a flier about the drive, which is included with this article in the photos section.
Did you know Leyla Beban? Share your favorite memories of her in the comments below.
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