More than 60 FedEx volunteers teamed up with a nonprofit literacy advocacy group to upgrade the library at Jolly Elementary School in Clarkston Sept. 13.
“There’s nothing more impactful to a young person than to be introduced to rich literature and to be able to get 200 new books in the media center plus two to carry home…is very, very impactful,” said Jolly Elementary Principal Bob Moseley.
In addition to the donation of books, the volunteers created a reading corner in the library with comfortable furniture. The library was also painted and placards with the school district’s character traits of the month, printed in English and various other languages, were hung around the library. Volunteers also painted murals throughout the school and beautified the entrance to the building.
Robert Lewis, a senior manager at FedEx, said, “At FedEx we recognize that our impact is greater than the services we provide. We do that by striving to make a positive difference in the communities of our customers and team members. We recognize also that putting dollars to it is not the only part of it. We also have to roll up our sleeves, dig in and get in and make a difference.”
Moseley said the students and faculty are “so appreciative of the work. We’re very grateful. [The students] will remember this. Inserting impactful reading and literature in their lives at a young age really can change the trajectory of a kid’s life.”
For the school’s 816 students, John Flynn, vice president of the Heart of America Foundation’s READesign, said the volunteers “created a new comfortable, soft seating area with some wonderful bean bags, lounge sofa, reading chair and 200 brand new library books with 50 of those books focused on the cultures of the students here.”
“I don’t think you could put an exact dollar figure on all of the work and time and energy that’s gone into this,” Flynn said. “We would consider it a priceless investment.”
Volunteers passed out books in the classrooms and read to the students.
Judy Rosemond, Jolly Elementary’s assistant principal, said, “Reading is the foundation that children will need to take them to any level that they choose to go to. It allows them the opportunity to be competitive in a global society. You have no idea of what this experience means to us as administrators, as educators, as teachers in this building. The imprint that you are going to leave on the lives of our children—there is no money amount that you could put to that.”
Emily Pelton, executive director of Refugee Family Services, called the volunteers’ work an exciting, rare moment “when we really see community coming together.”
“You can see today how excited these kids are,” Pelton said to the volunteers. “You’ve left this beautiful legacy of themselves and their culture here.”
Jacqueline Keeten, the school’s librarian, said the volunteers exemplified the district’s character trait of the month: respect.
“Our children told you what they wanted to see,” said Keeten about the students from 35 language groups. “They said they wanted to see themselves and their cultures in the books and throughout the school. You came in an honored them by doing exactly that.”
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