Harrowgate Elementary celebrates with First Book

On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, National First Book presented its one hundred millionth book to children at Martha’s Table, a community center near Washington, D.C. with national television coverage by ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.  Pre-K through second grade children at Harrowgate Elementary School continued the celebration with First Book – Greater Richmond and their volunteers and Senior Ambassadors from Chesterfield County Senior Advocate program.

Last Friday, the children received their own books to take home after volunteers read the books to small groups in each classroom. Following the reading activities, the first grade classes, wearing “100” themed foam glasses recited a short poem thanking First Book and threw confetti following the poem.

Taffy Jones-Hayes, parent liaison at Harrowgate Elementary, has worked with the Harrowgate Intervention Program for 21 years and has seen firsthand the impact that First Book – Greater Richmond has made on their literacy programs for their at-risk children. “Before First Book, these children were never able to have books for their very own,”

Jones-Hayes said. “When schools apply for grants from resources other than First Book, they are required to keep the resources at the school First Book-Greater Richmond is the only grant source that not only allows, but also requires that the children take ownership of the books in order to build libraries in their own homes. This increases literacy activities at home and also builds parent confidence in our school because they see that we are investing in their children.”  

First Book-Greater Richmond is a non-profit 501©3 that has a single mission and purpose – to give children from low-income families in Greater Richmond the opportunity to read and own their fist new books. Since its founding, in 2005 they have provided over $370,000 to 75 Title 1 schools, pre-schools, after-school and literacy programs on the area which translates to approximately 170,000 books for 25,000 children in need in the Greater Richmond community.  “We intentionally partner with existing literacy programs that follow our proven model of helping children in need establish libraries in their own homes, by providing an ongoing supply of new, age-appropriate books – ideally six to 12 books for each child, over the course of one year – that become the personal property of the children participating in these programs,” said Brynn Markham, volunteer for First Book- Greater Richmond.  Harrowgate Elementary invite Senior Ambassadors in every other month for their reading activities and book distribution.

Markham joined additional First Book volunteers representing SunTrust and the University of Richmond Pi Beta Phi alumni and current members who also joined the reading activities with the Senior Ambassadors at Harrowgate Elementary.

To learn more about First Book – Greater Richmond visit www.firstbook.org/richmond.

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