Continuing its commitment to get books into the hands and homes of children, the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown (UUCJ) provided a book for each of the 720 Jumpstart Kits prepared for Jamestown Public School (JPS) students.
Designed to jumpstart students’ learning for the new school year, the kits also included colored pencils, chalk, play clay, and additional books and journals purchased through grants from the Dollar General Foundation and the Cummins Foundation. They went to kindergarten through sixth grade students from all the JPS elementary and middle schools.
With help from Chautauqua Striders, JPS 12-month staff assembled the kits. Teachers and staff nominated students who would enjoy opportunities for additional summer learning, and their parents picked up the kits at their own schools. Any extras were given out at the YMCA with summer lunches.
Inspired by research showing that growing up with more books in their home increases a person’s literacy and educational achievement, the UUCJ Social Justice Committee works to make more books available to children in the Jamestown community by giving them away free.
The committee has “adopted” Fletcher Elementary School’s kindergarten classes, providing each student with three books during the school year. It also provides books to Washington Middle School’s English As A New Language students, who are taught by one of the church’s members.
A book box in front of the church at 1255 Prendergast Avenue is filled with children’s books that are free for the taking. Because the church is located on the route of the Memorial Day parade, parents and children who were watching or participating in last year’s parade were invited to stop in and choose a book to take home. On Halloween, children are welcomed inside by costumed parishioners for a Halloween Read and Treat where they can choose a book, receive a treat, and do some simple crafts.
Since contributing the 700+ books made a serious dent in the supply that the UUCJ has to give away, donations of used (or new) children’s books in good condition would be most appreciated. Anyone with a number of books that a church member could pick up is invited to call and leave a message at (716) 488-1902 or email UUJamestown@gmail.com.
You can learn more about the UUCJ at jamestownuu.org or on their Facebook page, facebook.com/jamestownuu.