John Monfredo: Worcester: The City That Reads Hosts 7th Annual Book Drive
Saturday, March 02, 2013
The last two years have been great for the drive. The Committee collected over 25,000 books each of these years and was able to put a book into the hands of every child in the Worcester Public Schools. Traditionally, the books are distributed to low-income students, social agencies, and groups with summer school programs. In addition, books have also been given to schools and groups during the year for special projects.
Books last year were also given to Head Start, Rainbow Child Development, the African Education Institute, the Y.W.C.A., to church groups with summer reading programs, United Way programs and many other social agencies. In addition, this year the Committee hopes to give some of the hard covered books collected to schools that are starting their own school library and to the “Books for Babies” Worcester Public Schools program. In addition, through the Worcester Library Book Mobile books were given out by Libby (book mobile) at various park sites. Again this year, books will be given to the schools during “Reading In Our City Week” initiated by “Worcester: the City that Reads.”
The drive has already received over 2,000 seed books. Many of our colleges have contributed to the drive including Worcester State University, Clark University, Holy Cross, and Mass. College of Pharmacy… with other colleges in the midst of their drive. Also, $500.00 worth of books from Harvard Pilgrim Health was donated, as well as books from Friends of the Southborough Public Library. This annual drive has really caught on for now many individuals are calling me to donate books for this great cause.
This year in an attempt to spread the importance of literacy in our community we are recommending that the schools and the Worcester Public Library consider conducting a book swap when they return from their summer break. This way we can continue the importance of reading throughout the school year. As we begin the seventh anniversary of book the drive, we hope to surpass our goal of 25,000 books and shoot for 27,000. I would certainly like to thank Charter Communication, Channel three for not only establishing a television program after our committee, “Worcester: the City that Reads” hosted by Hank Stolz, but by helping communicate information to the public on the book drive through a series of mini commercials. It has been a real community effort by many organizations in the city.
According to the research on literacy, challenges not only exist in Worcester but across the nation. Sixty-one percent of low-income families in the nation have no children’s books in the home. In low income neighborhoods, there is an average of only one-age appropriate book for every 300 children.
Studies clearly indicate that children in homes that have books are more likely to succeed in school, while children who don’t have adequate reading skills are much more likely to drop out of school. A recent study found that the ability to read well is the single best indicator of future economic success – regardless of family background.
We started this committee to encourage the children in our community to develop a love for reading. As the famous Walt Disney once said, “There is more treasure in books than in the entire pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” We as a community need to reach out to our parents and children and encourage read alouds, reading at home, reading in the park, and reading for fun.
We all know that reading serves as the major foundational skill for all school based learning. As a former principal I strongly recommend the emphasis be placed on early childhood literacy from birth to age eight. These are critical years for literacy development in linking a child’s success in learning to read. Children’s author Emilie Buchward said it best, “Parents play a vital role in this undertaking for children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
More drop off sites have been added this year as well as additional groups have come forward and are conducting their own book drives for this important literacy drive.
Please donate a new or gently used books, Pre-kindergarten to grade 8, at the following sites from March 2nd to May 15th.
- People’s United People’s Bank (all six city branches) including the town of Shrewsbury, Marlboro and Leominster
- Commerce Bank (all four city branches) including Holden
- Bay State Savings Bank (all branches)
- Bank of America ( at Tatnuck Square)
- TD Bank ( all branches)
- Barnes and Noble Book Store on Lincoln Street
- Worcester Public Library
- Stop and Shop on Lincoln Street
- Stop and Shop on Grafton Street
- Stop and Shop on West Boylston Street
- Shaws Market on West Boylston Street
- Shaws Market at Webster Square
- RSVP and the Senior Center on Vernon Street
- Worcester Credit Union
- Starbucks Coffee on one West Boylston Street
- Panera’s on West Boylston Street
- Light Labs on Shrewsbury Street
- DCU Center and the Worcester Sharks
- Jewish Community Center on Salisbury Street
- Leader’s Way – Kung Fu Academy on Burncoat Street
- Greendale YMCA
- St. Vincent’s Hospital at the entrance door on Summer Street
- CVS on West Boylston Street
- Worcester Public School Committee Office at 20 Irving Street
In addition, as of this writing the following businesses and organizations will be having their own book drive in an attempt to assist the children of Worcester: (we hope more organizations will also join in)
- Scholastic Books
- UMass Medical
- Worcester Public School High Schools: Burncoat High, Doherty High, North High, South High, Claremont Academy, University Park Campus and Worcester Technical High.
- Wachusett District – Thomas Prince School K-8
- Bancroft School
- St. Peter-Marion
- Holy Name High School
- St. John’s High School
- Notre Dame Academy
- Worcester Academy
- Venerini Academy
- Girl Scouts of Worcester
- Boy Scouts
- Hanover Insurance
- Little leagues of Worcester
- UNUM insurance
- UBS Financial Services
- Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital
- UMass Memorial
- Wilson Language Training Center
- United Way
- You, Inc.
- The following colleges and universities: WPI, Clark University, Holy Cross College, Becker College, Worcester State University, Anna Maria College, Assumption College, and Mass. College of Pharmacy, and Salter College, and Quinsigamond Community College.
A listing of these sites and other additional sites can be accessed on the Worcester Public Library's website.
For more information, or if other schools or businesses are interested in helping out please call John or Anne-Marie Monfredo at 508 853-3444. Remember, everyone can help in this most worthwhile community service project and bring the joy of reading to every child. As the African proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” What better way to raise children than to give them the opportunity to read?
- John Monfredo: Bullying—A Problem for Everyone
- John Monfredo: Hidden Heroes of Public Education in Worcester
- John Monfredo: Chronic Absenteeism And What We Can Do About It
- John Monfredo: It’s Time To Get Serious About the “Summer Slide”
- John Monfredo: Knowledge of American History and Civics in Danger of Becoming “History”
- John Monfredo: Keeping Families in the Public School System
- John Monfredo: South High Raising the Bar With More AP Courses
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.