LEONIA, N.J. – The Rotary Club of The Palisades recently presented a check for $500 to Jill Miller and Lisa Badalamenti-Compel, two Anna C Scott Elementary School teachers, in support of ACS’s "Books For All" program at the Rotary Club.
Miller and Badalamenti-Compel actively have been engaged in working with the ACS Student Council in driving the "Books For All" program (also known as the “Snackpack for the Mind”). Under their direction, the grades 3-5 student council representatives have launched this effort and a letter writing-campaign to generate new book donations for distribution. The students already have received responses from well-known author J.K. Rowling and Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle and enthusiastic support from the community.
Sadly, not all Leonia elementary school children or their families can afford new books. Numerous research studies have found a direct correlation between children who regularly read and academic/professional success later in life.
The "Books For All" campaign is designed to help narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots by putting new books in the hands of some students who might not otherwise receive them. Nearly 11 percent of Leonians are living on incomes at or below the federal poverty level. While a new book in the hands of an elementary student might not be the first thing which comes to mind when we think about how many families are struggling economically, it is without a doubt one of the most impactful gifts a child can get.
The books are being distributed along with the Weekend SnackPacks of healthy food that each Friday are discretely put in the backpacks of ACS children who receive free or reduced-priced school meals during the week and are registered in the Rotary's SnackPack program by their parents. The recipients are totally anonymous. However, the teachers report that “one particular student hugged her snack pack and inquired about when she would receive her next book.”
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