Twenty schools in the New York metropolitan region will soon be stocked with 100 more books. At a time when budget cuts threaten after school programs and library services, the “Books 4 Our School” challenge aims to make reading more accessible to children.
Which schools will get the books is partly determined by a virtual show of hands.
Presented by the Brooke Jackman Foundation and NYMetroParents, the challenge encourages parents to show their support for literacy by voting in a contest. The 10 schools with the most votes will receive 75-100 books for their library and 10 more schools, picked at random, will also receive books. Any daycare center, nursery, elementary or middle school (public or private) within the five boroughs of New York City, and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Fairfield counties is eligible to win. To participate, parents should register at the Books 4 Our Schools website. The contest ends April 30.
The Brooke Jackman Foundation was founded in 2001 by the family of Brooke Jackman, who died at the age of 23 in the September 11 attacks. Jackman was an avid reader and planned to dedicate her life to helping children. The foundation shares her love of books.
“If parents are involved, kids do better in school,” said Erin Jackman, executive director of the foundation. “Parents are the first people that children learn from.”
Since 2001, the foundation has donated nearly 100,000 books and 15,000 “Brooke Packs” — backpacks filled with books and school supplies — to children and families in need. The foundation has also opened four libraries at locations across New York City that serve as places where kids can go to read, borrow books and attend literacy programs.
Jackman said the libraries were opened in places where kids often go with their parents in times of need. The first was opened in 2005 at an after school program at P.S. 111 in Manhattan. The second was established at the Grand Street Settlement Child Care Center on the Lower East Side. The third was opened at the Family Justice Center in Brooklyn and the last opened in 2009 at the Crimes Against Children Bureau at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, also in Brooklyn.
“We put the libraries there because they didn’t have anything,” said Jackman. “When families are in chaos…This is a place for them [the kids] to escape.”
And while public libraries, as well as school libraries, are working hard to serve New Yorkers and students, there is always a need for more.
“This is another way for us to get books into the hands of children,” she said.
With just one week left to vote, here are the schools currently in the lead:
1. P.S. 144 Col Jeromus Remson, Queens
2. P.S./M.S. 114 The Belle Harbor School, Queens
3. P.S. 84 The Jose de Diego School, Brooklyn
4. P.S. 15 The Patrick F. Daly School, Brooklyn
5. P.S. 314 Muscota New School, Manhattan
6. Easter Seals Project Explore, Westchester
7. P.S. 290 Manhattan New School, Manhattan
8. P.S. 163Q Flushing Heights School, Queens
9. William O. Schaefer Elementary, Rockland
10. Lakewood Elementary, Rockland
11. P.S. 115 Glen Oaks School, Queens
12. P.S. 163 The Alfred E. Smith School, Manhattan
13. P.S. 52 Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
14. Setauket Elementary School, Long Island
15. St. Demetrios School, Queens
16. Brooklyn Brownstone School, Brooklyn
17. Lee F. Jackson Elementary School, Westchester
18. M964 Central Park East 2, Manhattan
19. St. Joan Arc Catholic School, Queens
20. P.S. 250 George H. Lindsay, Brooklyn