Global Literacy Project Receives “Check Into Literacy” Grant From Verizon

September 14, 2010 on 8:35 am | In News Briefs, USA Program News | No Comments
Donnett Barnett Verley (Verizon), Olubayi Olubayi, Denniston Bonadie and Doug Schoenberger (Verizon)

Donnett Barnett Verley (Verizon), Olubayi Olubayi, Denniston Bonadie and Doug Schoenberger (Verizon)

Global Literacy Project’s New Jersey “Take Reading Home” initiative received a substantial funding boost this year with the receipt of a $3,000 Verizon “Check Into Literacy” Grant. Verizon awarded 51 grants in 2010.

This funding will completely outfit two classrooms of twenty students each in New Brunswick where GLP volunteers are conducting a 20 week leveled reading program over two semesters.  The grant, matched by donations from long time GLP supporter, 10th grade student Lily Steele, will provide for fifteen basic phonics books and five sets of early reader board books for every student as well as computers and software that provide interactive follow-up to each book.

The typical student in the classrooms GLP serves in New Brunswick comes from a home with few, if any, children’s books. Some of the parents have limited literacy or for whom English is a second language, so they have not read to the children on a regular basis, and might not be comfortable reading to them now.

The most significant feature of the Take Reading Home initiative is that the children will bring home books that they can read to their families. Because the children will be taking home books that they have learned to read with the assistance of the GLP volunteers, when they take the books home they can read independently, thus the parent is not required to give reading instruction.  Instead, parents can listen to the child read, providing encouragement and additional skills practice, while fostering a love of books in their children.

Thanks to the generosity of Verizon customers in New Jersey who participated in the company’s Check Into Literacy program, 51 nonprofit organizations throughout the state received $250,000 in grants to support literacy programs.  Verizon presented checks for the grants to the nonprofits at a ceremony on Tuesday (Sept. 14) in Livingston.

“Education is a major focus of Verizon’s philanthropic efforts, and these grants will give thousands of New Jerseyans the building blocks they need to learn and become more productive members of our society,” said Dennis M. Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey.

The program allows Verizon landline telephone customers to support literacy by checking a box on their monthly phone bills to make a $1 tax-deductible donation to promote literacy.  Verizon then distributes these donations to local literacy organizations that serve the individual states in which the customers live.

GLP hopes to eventually install the same set of literacy support materials in all eighteen of the kindergarten classrooms that are part of the “Take Reading Home” program.

Backpacks & Books Leave Big Smiles with New Brunswick, NJ Students for International Literacy Day!

September 8, 2010 on 3:55 am | In Book Drives/Book Donation Events, USA Program News | No Comments

PRAB Daycare student with her new backpack

PRAB Daycare student with her new backpack

September 8th marked International Literacy Day as well the start of the new school year for students in GLP’s hometown of New Brunswick, New Jersey. As has become a happy routine over the past five years, GLP members visited the PRAB where they gave away over fifty backpacks filled with literacy supplies for students in the Puerto Rican Action Board’s Daycare program. GLP also provided a mix of early readers/bilingual books for over 260 students in the kindergarten classes.

New back packs filled with literacy supplies, bobbing on the backs of children throughout the nation is an image that we form in our minds when marking the beginning of the school year. There is a basic assumption that all of our nation’s children fit into this mold of Americana as summer fades and schools open their doors. However, communities served by the Puerto Rican Action Board daycare in New Brunswick, many of them with adults with skills for the now hard to find construction and agricultural sectors, have been facing economic challenges due to the painful ongoing economic contraction. As such, it becomes a challenge for both the school and parents to fully provide  the expected back to school kit of crayons, markers, pencils, glue and a notebook,. This obviously creates distress on all sides, from parents, teachers to the children themselves.

This year, GLP members, Lissette Hererra and Summiya Abdul-Quddus were greeted with smiles and eyes that glimmered with excitement as they brought in backpacks with themes ranging from animal faces, insects and flowers. The teachers at the PRAB personalized each bag with the names of the students–many of who, overcome with anticipation, admired their new treasure with giggles and curious fingers!

The picturesque image of children happily working with basic school supplies is one that we should embrace all children around the world. It is an idea that the United Nations Millennium Goals have also embraced. Join GLP in making this image a reality, start your own community initiative, or ask us how you can help in our efforts, locally and globally!

Summiya Abdul-Quddus and Lissette Herrera give out backpack at the PRAB.

Summiya Abdul-Quddus and Lissette Herrera give out backpacks at the PRAB.

Brooklyn Middle School 131 Supports “Books for Brainfills, NOT Landfills” by Recycling Texts

July 28, 2010 on 8:35 pm | In Book Drives/Book Donation Events, Students Making a Difference | No Comments

Brooklyn_Middle_School_131_donationA BIG Thank You to Middle School 131 in Brooklyn, New York. Early this year, the school donated over five thousand science, math, English and general reading books to the Global Literacy Project. Ms. Walsh, a teacher at the school coordinated the donation. Volunteers Kuixi and Xian were on hand to help move boxes of books into the Global Literacy van. Kudos to Ms. Walsh, volunteers Kuixi and Xian and to the administrators at the Brooklyn Middle School.

Ethan Briere Believes in Relationships that Lead to Transformative Action

June 19, 2010 on 8:32 pm | In Book Drives/Book Donation Events, Students Making a Difference | No Comments

Ethan_BriereThis past April, on the eve of his Bar Mitzvah, Ethan Briere contemplated the fact that Judaism focuses on relationships. However, it also focuses on the importance of actions over the mere mouthing of statements. As such, for the significant transition marked by his turning thirteen, Ethan initiated a wide ranging community book drive and fundraiser, drawing his entire community near and far into a new relationship with the idea of enabling change for South African students in GLP’s “Shack to Scholarship” initiative. This culminated  in June with a collection of several hundred books–enough to supply a half dozen classrooms–along with enough funds to ship the packed pallets out to South Africa.

Today, several hundred students in our Randfontein locations are transforming lives through the new international relationship enabled by the important action that Ethan took. Ethan, toda raba.

Shannon McNamara looks to “SHARE” educational success with African girls

May 7, 2010 on 8:33 pm | In Book Drives/Book Donation Events, Students Making a Difference | No Comments
Shannon (second from right) with GLP's Emeka Akaezuwa

Shannon (second from left) with GLP's Emeka Akaezuwa

It is not always easy to share. Not so with Shannon Hill McNamara, 17. Shannon, a resident of New Jersey and a 2010 Governor Jefferson’s award winner, founded Shannon’s After-school Reading Exchange (SHARE). SHARE,, is a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization that seeks to empower African girls through education.

Shannon’s passion about reading and her belief in gender equality continues to drive her to help girls her age in Africa. Since 2008 when she founded SHARE, Shannon and a cadre of volunteers have spent months collecting, sorting, labeling and boxing thousands of books and school supplies for African girls, primarily in Tanzania.

Expanding SHARE’s coverage in June of 2010, the Global Literacy Project received over fourteen thousand books from the organization. GLP continued to extend Shannon’s vision by donating the books to girls from the townships around our program sites.

Student at Carroll Shaw Farm with books from SHARE donation

Student at Carroll Shaw Farm with books from SHARE donation

GLP looks forward to partnering with SHARE in the future. We were also delighted to learn that Shannon, along with two other recipients from China and South Korea, were honored by the United Nations for “significant contributions to humanitarian goals” at the Youth Achievement Assembly on August 6, 2010 in New York City.

Volunteers Receive N.J. State Governor’s Jefferson Awards

April 28, 2010 on 11:09 pm | In Students Making a Difference, USA Program News, Volunteers in the News | No Comments
Anne DeLaney, Olubayi Olubayi, NJ Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Emma Carver, Douglass Schoenberger (VP of Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs for Verizon NJ)

Anne DeLaney, Olubayi Olubayi, NJ Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Chloe Carver, and Douglass Schoenberger-Verizon NJ

On April 28 the Global Literacy Project celebrated the recognition of volunteers Emma Carver and her sister Chloe Carver by the N.J. State Governor’s Jefferson Awards for Volunteerism at NJ PAC in Newark.

The program featured Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno who joined members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Volunteerism, staff of the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism, the Star Ledger and the Community Foundation of New Jersey at the first NJ Governor’s Jefferson Awards.

Out of the 1,044 applications received, 19 individuals and 3 groups were honored for their outstanding volunteer work throughout the state of NJ on .

Through their ongoing work with the Global Literacy Project, the sisters have provided books, built classrooms, remodeled libraries, and created literacy support programs for sites Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. As a result of their particular efforts in South Africa, Emma and Chloe received the Jefferson Award for Volunteerism in the category of Education, Arts & History—recognizing volunteers who “provide classroom and/or after-school programs, enrichment opportunities, tutoring, or other academic support that would enhance the student’s ability to succeed.”

Previously, Linda Bowden, President of PNC Northern New Jersey (a corporate sponsor of the awards), has noted that  ”The New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards honor ordinary people who, through volunteer service, do extraordinary things for other people, their community, their nation, or the environment.”

Sam Beard (co-founder of the Jefferson Awards), Honoree Chloe Carver, Honoree Emma Carver, and Nominator Anne DeLaney

Sam Beard (co-founder of the Jefferson Awards), Honoree Chloe Carver, Honoree Emma Carver, and Nominator Anne DeLaney

Each year the awards are presented nationally and locally to individuals who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.

Read article here:

Jenni Struthers Connects Her North Carolina Community to South Africa

April 19, 2010 on 8:13 pm | In Book Drives/Book Donation Events, Students Making a Difference, USA Program News | No Comments
Jenni working at the GLP warehouse

Jenni working at the GLP warehouse

Students at two primary schools in Gauteng Province, South Africa were delighted to receive books in 2009 that were donated by a then new GLP supporter, Jenni Struthers. Jenni and several friends and classmates (all living in North Carolina) began collecting books in response to a request from Christina Vanech and Emma Carver, acquaintances of Jenni, who spent a semester in South Africa in the fall of 2009.

This year, Jenni doubly surprised the South African students when she conducted another community book drive, this time making a special attempt to collect several copies of the same books to enhance their use in the South African classrooms. She even came all the way from North Carolina to the Global Literacy Project’s warehouse in Hillside, New Jersey to sort the books and get them ready for shipment to South Africa.

During the summer 2010 Global Learning Expedition to South Africa, the GLP volunteers distributed Jenni’s books  into classroom libraries at Zuurbekom Intermediate School and at Thabisile Primary School.

Randfontein Primary School students with books sent by Jenni Struthers

Randfontein Primary School students with books sent by Jenni Struthers

A number of students also received several of the books as prizes for high academic performance during the school year. Many of the South African students mentioned that Jenni was really a special person as even after her friends had returned to the USA, she still thought of them.

At GLP we’re not surprised, especially after seeing the way Jenni focused on working at the warehouse preparing the shipment. Jenni fulfills our definition of “Global Citizen.”

We all say “Thank You” Jenni!

JWT Uses Recycled Stock Photo Books to Teach Kids to Read

April 4, 2010 on 3:35 am | In News Briefs, USA Program News | No Comments

JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network, with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. This spring their New York office has been working with GLP on an innovative idea called the “My First Book Project.” Here is a brief press release from PDNPulse (…


Bulky old stock photography and illustration catalogues take up a lot of space, but it can feel like an awful waste to pitch the lavishly printed tomes into a recycling bin. A project by JWT has given old stock books new life as educational tools for youngsters learning to read.

The “My First Book Project” program was created by staffers in the advertising agency’s Cape Town, South Africa office as a tool to teach kids to read, and has since spread to other JWT offices, including the one in New York.

To convert the stock photography books into tools that help children learn to read, “authors” write simple, single-word descriptions of what’s depicted in the photographs—“Dog” or “Man” or “Nose” for instance—on each page.

JWT has partnered with The Global Literacy Project (GLP), a non-profit organization that collects and delivers donated books to areas of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean with low literacy rates. The program is right in line with the GLP motto: “Books for Brainfills, Not Landfills!”

Thus far more than 2,000 JWT employees worldwide have created books that have reached 70,000 children in three countries.

Getty and Corbis are also supporting the program through donations of outdated stock photo catalogues.

Others who wish to get involved can send inquires to:

The Global Literacy Project
P.O. Box 228
New Brunswick, NJ 08930

Planning for 2010 South Africa Trip

February 25, 2010 on 6:03 pm | In Global Learning Expeditions, Students Making a Difference | No Comments

The Pingry School is planning a summer 2010 service trip to South Africa. The Pingry School and the Global Literacy Project are excited to offer students the opportunity to connect across continents and cultures. The student volunteers will be traveling to South Africa mid summer to help create a school library as well as a community literacy program in the Guateng province. Look out for future updates.

Junior High Students Share with Their Community

October 24, 2009 on 11:55 pm | In Days of Difference | No Comments

2009 Make-A-Difference Day program at Grace Wilday School in Roselle New Jersey

Grace Wilday students with principal Reginald Mirthil and GLP representative, Emeka Akaezuwa

Grace Wilday student with principal Reginald Mirthil and GLP representative, Emeka Akaezuwa

One of the highlights of GLP’s 2009 Make-A-Difference Day programming was our visit to Grace Wilday Junior High School. There, we provided books so that the 488 students at the school could each select a book that they would donate to someone in their community. Each book had to be accompanied by a card written by the student explaining that they wanted to share the gift as a way to pull their community together for Make-A-Difference Day. Nearly 1000 books were involved in the give-away.

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