BY ALLY POLNER
Students Helping Achieve Philanthropic Excellence (SHAPE) participated in a book drive to give Collins Elementary, an underprivileged elementary school, the opportunity to enrich the student’s academics. The club collected more than 1200 books, and 15 members went to donate the books on Feb. 25. In addition to donating the books, club members made bookmarks and read to students in Collins Elementary after-care program.
“The SHAPE Club’s mission is to focus their efforts and funding on education, specifically the needs of underprivileged primary school-aged children,” Julie Klitzner, adviser of SHAPE Club said. “Through research, the SHAPE Club connected with Collins Elementary, which fits this criteria.”
Vice President of Community Service, Alexa Luongo said she had a change of perspective on life after the experience of dropping the books off to the school.
“I realized many kids take things for granted and these kids at Collins Elementary have nothing,” Luongo said. “I was able to see everything first hand. Donating over 1,000 books to students who didn’t even have any books was such an amazing experience.”
Mrs. Klitzner said that both, teachers and students were grateful to receive the books for entertainment and academics.
“Teachers are able to have more books in their classrooms for reading assignments and enrichment activities,” Mrs. Klitzner said. “For instance, Collins is having Dr. Seuss week and we delivered a box of Dr. Seuss books. Teachers couldn’t grab them fast enough.”
Along with members of SHAPE Club, other classes were also encouraged to donate books. AP Art History teacher, Gretchen Marfisi, collected more than 200 books to help contribute to the drive.
“The AP Art History students took the time to look for their old books and to be part with their precious treasures.” Mrs. Marfisi said. “The young students were delighted to have the donated the Bay’s books.”
Based on the outcome of the drive, SHAPE Club plans on working to help other schools in need.
“It made us want to continue working with these kids because we can tell that they appreciate us and we enjoy giving back to them,” Luongo said.
At the end of the visit, they were allowed to pick a book to take home. These students also had the opportunity to take home additional books for their siblings.
“They were really happy to have such an assortment of books to choose from because they are all just starting to read,”Mrs. Klitzner said. “They treated the books like presents.”