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South Mountain School Second Annual Book & A Bear Drive

Team W Book Drive

The Team W Kindergarten class at South Mountain School held their Second Annual Book & A Bear Drive last month as part of a year-long focus on community service. Mrs. Wright & Mrs. Watkinson are teaching their students that "little kids can do big things". In just two weeks they collected 920 children's books and 246 stuffed animals - doubling last year's numbers! The books and stuffed animals were donated to two, local organizations in need through our liaison, Ellie Lesperance. 

The first is the Domestic Violence Unit of the Family Court in Essex County and their volunteer advocacy group called The Rachel Coalition. When children in need arrive at the family court due to domestic violence, we hope they find some small comfort in being able to choose a book and a stuffed animal. For many of the kids these may be the only child friendly items they own. 

The second group is the Essex YMYWCA in Newark on Broad Street. It is an active and amazing emergency residence program and shelter with 300 beds for individuals and families. Many teens reside here when they find themselves homeless. The staff assists the families with crisis intervention, housing and employment search, health screening referrals, food and clothes, and pantry donations. They also do training on crucial issues such as parenting and life skills. The children in the shelter all go to school and attend as many of their regular activities as possible. The staff operates a licensed after school program that includes tutoring and mentoring; arts and crafts; snacks, and they just recently constructed a new computer lab that facilitates the skills the children need to complete a research project or just build computer savvy. They were also so appreciative of all of the books and animals. The staff said they have actually too many donations of clothing -- but books and the animals are wonderful since again, the children are allowed to keep them.

We are thankful to have such generous and supportive families at South Mountain. We are equally grateful to have Ellie directing our collections to those most in need.

In March Team W will launch their next project - The 4th Annual Shoe Drive. They hope collect 2,000 pairs of shoes in all styles and sizes for Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. 

Pictured above, a few kids with books and bears. From left to right:  Jack Lintern, Alexa Flores, Sunomuno Miles, Lucy Deiboldt, Sawyer Werdann.