Saturday February 5, 2011

Education

Keeping "Lit" Outta The Landfill  

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission schools to benefit from 18,000 donated books

Staff/Voice

 

he United Way and Reading Tree are branching out into BC to help school kids improve their reading skills, and also to try and keep literature from the landfills. The two organizations announced last week they've partnered to donate 18,000 books to Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission schools, which works out to about 10 books per student.

According to a United Way Facebook post, 2,500 children's books have been earmarked for Chilliwack Elementary Community School's 250 students.

Abbotsford's, Alexander Elementary was selected to be the first in SD#34 to receive a package of 1,760 books for it's 176 students. There is no word about Mission to date.

The group's primary focus is to inspire children to read more and watch TV less. So as part of the program, they're asking parents to turn off the TV and video games for 20-30 minutes daily and read to their children. The donated books will form a unique part of the school's library in that late fees or fines won't be levied.

Reading Tree is a Boston-area non-profit charity organization who first started out as "Hands Across The Water" in 2000 and blossomed to include many big US cities, the Greater Vancouver area and overseas as well.

Anisa Bryant, who is a Reading Tree representative, told the Voice in an e-mail that the the name change to Reading Tree was because they wanted "to better reflect our domestic and international missions."

"Currently, we have major bin collection programs in several metropolitan areas of the U.S. in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Seattle-Tacoma," wrote Bryant. "Additionally, we operate in the greater Vancouver, British Columbia area. Future plans will take us to more cities across North America."

Bryant also said that most of the children's books are used for "in-classroom lending libraries in elementary schools serving low-income populations across British Columbia".

"We also provide support to after-school programs such as Boys and Girls Clubs," she explained adding that "about of the books we receive are sold by our recycling partner to help offset the costs of our programs. Unusable books are recycled (pulped), thereby helping reduce the flow of material into our nation's landfills."

Scott Wallace, Principal of Chilliwack Central Elementary Community School told the Voice in an e-mail Sunday that he believes his students will indeed take these books home to be read by a family member.

"The Reading Tree and the United Way's partnering to put books in the hands of children is truly inspirational," wrote Wallace. "This puts legs to the adage that 'it takes a community to raise a child.' Our teacher-librarian, Christopher Hunt, will be supervising the collection and its distribution."

"At this time we hope to stock our classroom with this resource to promote a home reading program. This is an exciting opportunity for Central and we appreciate The Reading Tree and United Way's efforts to promote literacy."

According to the one of the charity's websites, Reading Tree is "dedicated to cultural bridge-building on a local, national and international scale by providing the tools of literacy and education."

Reading Tree works to promote reuse and conservation of books and looks at ways to keep the literature out of landfills.

For more information visit www.readingtree.org  or their sister site www.surplusbooksforcharity.org

 

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