Looking to jump-start your spring cleaning efforts this month? Make some room on your bookshelves and donate your gently-used children’s books.
Two Council Rock High School North students, sophomores Larissa Witte and Stefani Ruzic, are organizing a children's book drive that will run from April 11 to 15.
Collection boxes for early picture books right up to chapter books will be located throughout Council Rock High School North and at the on Eagle Road.
The books will be donated to The Providence Center, which provides educational and enrichment activities for children in the Fairhill/West Kensington section of North Philadelphia.
Witte and Ruzic are organizing the book drive as their graduation project, which all Council Rock students must complete. Ruzic and Witte are getting a head start on their graduation project; the two each wrote a paper about how reading influences development in young students, but they also want their project to have a service component.
“Given the freedom to do whatever we wanted for our graduation project, Stefani and I thought we should try and do something worthwhile,” said Witte. “We both felt that a book drive was a great idea because it would help young kids and would also be a reasonable goal for two high school sophomores.”
Ruzic said she wanted to share the pleasure of reading with others. “We both know how much reading has affected us and I think it’s really exciting that we may be able to help someone else," Ruzic said.
Council Rock High School North librarian Kathleen Pagano, who is serving as the girls’ mentor, said this graduation project is a bit “out of the box.”
“I give the girls credit for going beyond the norm to complete their graduation project and looking for a practical way to apply their research. As a librarian, I think it’s fabulous,” Pagano said.
To help bring their book drive to fruition, the students enlisted the help of volunteers from fellow students from the school's National Honor Society (NHS).
“The most rewarding part of this project so far has been the enthusiasm of all its volunteers,” said Witte. “This idea was really welcomed by students and faculty. I'm just glad that so many people have joined to help us.”
As the NHS co-advisor for Council Rock North, Pagano was happy to pair the girls with a group that could serve as extra arms and legs. “This is the perfect blend of scholarship and service, and I’m proud of my students and NHS officers. Kudos to NHS for stepping up and participating in this project.”
When the collection period ends, Witte, Ruzic and NHS volunteers will sort, categorize, and deliver the books to The Providence Center.
“We’re planning to have some students bring the books to The Providence Center and read some stories to the children there. I think that part of the project is what I'm really looking forward to,” said Witte.
The girls are relying on support from the community to make this project a success.
“There are many people in our community that simply have no more need for children’s books,” Ruzic said. “If we could donate these books to others and spark an interest in reading from an early age, we could make a difference in the future of our society.”