Book Drive By the Bragg School Triples Planned For Goal!
On Saturday, December 4, 2010, Bragg School fifth graders renewed their partnership with Randfontein Primary School of South Africa, beginning with a book drive in which they collected 22,000 books. Meryl Ironson, a fifth grade teacher at Bragg and a Global Literacy Project volunteer organized the book drive in collaboration with her fifth grade class.
Meryl visited the South African school in 2008 as part of the follow up to a smaller book drive. She returned with videos, photos and letters of the children that many Bragg students had befriended. Since then, with the support of the school principal and faculty of the Bragg School she has nurtured a connection between the two schools. This past spring they published their second “Teaching Minds, Reaching Hearts” joint poetry anthology.
A central goal of the program she developed with GLP’s assistance is to teach students that while they are citizens of their community, they are also citizens of the world. The book drive is the community outreach portion of a program, involving social studies and language arts classes.
Later in the year, pen pal letters will be exchanged and poetry will be used to unite the children of two continents. Poetry anthologies will be created by children at Bragg and Randfontein and a “Poetry Slam” or “Eistefodd,” as it is known in South Africa, will be featured in the spring.
In attendance were the Superintendent of Schools for Chester (Dr. Christina Van Woert), Bragg School Principal Dan Johnson, Nicole Macaluso, a fifth grade science teacher who partnered with Meryl to assist in developing the project, as well as many of the teachers from Bragg School along with hundreds of parents.
For more information about the Classroom to Classroom Connection, “Teaching Minds, Reaching Hearts” poetry anthology or for information on how to run a community book drive, contact Dr. Emeka Akaezuwa of GLP at Emeka@glpinc.org.
A Story of the Puerto Rican Action Board (New Jersey) and Two Committed Staff Members
New Brunswick, NJ., November, 2010-The Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) had modest beginnings around volunteer efforts to provide adult English classes to recently arrived migrants to the New Brunswick area. By the middle of the 1970s the PRAB was established as the first full time bilingual/ multilingual curriculum daycare Center for children ages 2 ½ to 5 in NJ. Since that time the PRAB has expanded and intensified its efforts to improve local neighborhoods by providing: child care, youth development, job training and placement opportunities, housing counseling, rehabilitation, construction and weatherization of homes, community advocacy, and community development activities.
The PRAB is important as an example of the change that nonprofits can make in a community. The Global Literacy Project became aware of the PRAB’s outreach to low income children in the community several years ago and began an initiative whereby three times per year new books were donated to all the children participating in the daycare and kindergarten programs. In the last two years, in response to feedback from Joyce Chase, Director of Education, and Site Directors Darshna Amarnani and Adriana Crosby, that the children could benefit from interaction with native English speakers GLP piloted a reading program in 17 classes across the city. The program was well received and in the Fall of 2010 GLP won a grant from the Verizon Foundation to expand the reading initiative at one site, the daycare facility where Site Director Shari Boyington had a number of exciting ideas. The “Take Reading Home” program brings students from Rutgers University to read to the children via a series of structured phonics books that build reading and oral skills. The books are matched with a software program that reproduces the book as a game. The students then receive smaller versions of the books to take home and read to their parents or other family members.
Much of the Puerto Rican Action Board’s daycare’s success is due to its committed staff, some whom have worked with the PRAB for over 20 years. When the Daycare Site Director Shari Boyington was recently tapped to head up a much larger program within the PRAB system—right at the beginning of the school year—new Site Director Patricia Hernandez had an impotant resource for easing the transition, i.e., two stalwart PRAB members who have been integral to the daycare program since its creation, Ms. Gloria Nuñez and Ms. Carmen Ortiz-Adorno.
Ms. Gloria Nuñez has been a part of the Puerto Rican Action Board’s staff for 28 years. She began working with the Puerto Rican Action Board as a volunteer while attending high school. She recalls working as a teacher’s aid and three years later she became a teacher. All of her teaching experience has come from working with the Puerto Rican Action Board. She came to the United States from Puerto Rico so she can relate to obstacles that non-English speakers face when attempting to learn the English language for the first time.
Ms. Carmen Ortiz-Adorno has been a part of the Puerto Rican Action Board for 26 ½ years. Like Ms. Nuñez she began working in the Puerto Rican Action Board as a teacher’s assistant and later became a teacher. She has stated that when she began working with the Puerto Rican Action Board she had great mentors that opened her interest inworking with children. Ms. Ortiz-Adorno reflected on the fact that when the Puerto Rican Action Board first opened its doors the student population was mostly Latino but as the New Brunswick community has became aware of the daycare center and it’s commitment to assisting anyone with need, the daycare population has become as diverse as the city’s population.
Both Ms. Gloria Nuñez and Ms. Carmen Ortiz- Adorno have seen the changes that the daycare has undergone. They recall when the Puerto Rican Action Board was housed in one building but now it has three different locations. One pre-school is located on Drift Street, another on Townsend Street and the daycare is on Somerset Street. The committed vision of the Puerto Rican Action Board brings hope to the New Brunswick community and with its committed staff devoted to educating the future leaders of the New Brunswick community the future is full of possibilities.
For more information on the Puerto Rican Action Board visit:
Pingry Students’ Service-Learning Activity Promotes Family Literacy in New Jersey and Around the WorldOctober 29, 2010 on 9:54 am | In Book Drives/Book Donation Events, Students Making a Difference, USA Program News, Volunteers in the News | No Comments
November 1st marks National Family Literacy Day. Celebrated across the U.S., the day focuses on special activities and events that showcase the importance of family literacy programs. First held in 1994, the annual event is officially celebrated on November 1st, but many events are held throughout the month of November. Schools, libraries, and other literacy organizations participate through read-a-thons, celebrity appearances, book drives, and more.
As part of their annual Community Service Day, a group of some thirty Pingry School students joined GLP at our Hillside warehouse the Friday before Family Literacy Day and helped to sort and pack several thousand books for distribution to our local and international programs.
It is with the help of volunteers such as these students that we continue to make a difference in the lives of those in need of access to literacy materials around the world. This group was all the more special as several members traveled with GLP to South Africa this past summer. Since their return they have galvanized their friends with the stories of how valuable their contribution as global citizens can be.
Halloween event has Rutgers Students join with GLP to Promote Family Literacy Day
Every October 31, Rutgers University hosts Monster Mash, a big, indoor trick or treat festival where parents bring their kids to celebrate Halloween, and every year, the Global Literacy Project is at Monster Mash with treats — books. This year the event saw participation from across the city of New Brunswick, and the Global Literacy Project gave out books to over 600 children.
A number of parents commented warmly on the idea of the giveaway. Each child was allowed to choose a book, and the parent or guardian was encouraged to take literature from GLP about Family Literacy Day, i.e., the US Department of Education’s Shining Stars series.
One of this year’s favorite books was Aaron’s Adventure, a book by the gifted author-illustrator Amy Paulson. Aaron is a cute elf who embarks on all sorts of adventures with frogs, mermaids and other creatures. It is very well written, brightly-colored and creatively illustrated. The children who attended Monster Mash had no difficulty identifying with the book.
Though Monster Mash is over, the kids who were lucky to get Aaron’s Adventures will continue to enjoy Aaron’s treats for years to come.
Annual “Walk for Literacy” Raises Funds for Local New Brunswick Daycare and South African KindergartenOctober 14, 2010 on 1:04 am | In Students Making a Difference, USA Program News | No Comments
The Global Literacy Project partnered once more with G.O.Y.A, a Rutgers student organization for one of the most successful literacy walks to date! On October 9, 2010, the fall sun gleamed in a perfect sky for the over 15 participating groups who turned out to walk the 5K route through New Brunswick with self-painted banners representing their organizations. Music, food, t-shirts and smiles created an atmosphere of friendship—walking towards a common goal—an all empowering body of individuals committed to local youth and the advocacy of literacy. There was an unmistakable hum of cooperation and energy present in the air of New Brunswick that day!
The walk began in front of Douglass Campus Center and ended at the steps of Brower Commons on College Avenue. Over one hundred participants were treated to a post-walk celebration party. The walk generated greatly needed funds to buy computers for the P.R.A.B, a local New Brunswick daycare and to support global education initiatives. A portion of the funds raised will also help complete the renovation of a kindergarten classroom in South Africa during GLP’s next Global Learning Expedition slated for January 2-14, 2011. It was a proud day for all those involved. The “Walk for Literacy” planning committee is already planning to expand the scope of the walk in 2011 based on the positive feedback of the last two years. GOYA and GLP extend their sincerest “thank yous” to everyone who supported this year’s event–together we are creating and fostering a culture of empowerment and education by providing literacy reading programs, supplies and awareness. Join us next year…ask us HOW!?
Winner of Cannes Lions 2010 Direct Silver Lion Ad prize
The My First Book Project / JWT Cape Town
Developing nations face a literacy crisis. Only 20% of schools have books, and children literally don’t have the books to learn from. We wanted to do something to help. We wanted to get first learner-reader books into the hands of these kids.
The target audience was twofold: people in our advertising network, and underprivileged children in developing countries.
Our strategy was to show and inspire people that by transforming a piece of waste, they could transform the life of a child.
The Global Literacy Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on literacy and gender equality in education, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, volunteers, friends and supporters, joined the organization’s Board at an anniversary dinner on September 25th at the Pines Manor in Edison, New Jersey. Founded in 1999/2000, the Global Literacy Project is the unlikely success story of a group of friends concerned about the dearth of educational resources that students and adult learners face worldwide.
Motivated to help, the group launched a book drive for one school, but that one-time act of kindness rapidly transformed into the inspiration for a global education movement. “It’s a momentous occasion for us when you consider that just ten years ago we began our work with a simple desire to upgrade a couple of school libraries used by children in Africa and the Caribbean,” said GLP president, Olubayi Olubayi. MORE>>
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.
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!
A 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.