When Grover Cleveland Middle School students Emma Scott and Kaitlyn Kinsella travelled to Anguilla this summer, they saw and learned something that most travelers don’t see … they saw children in need of books.
While visiting Anguilla, a small island lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin, the seventh-grade girls and their families befriended a local woman, Claire, who home-schooled children in the area, and soon learned about the desperate need for books.
“Claire told us that the children don’t have a lot of textbooks or reading books in their schools,” said Kinsella. “Anguilla is a poor but expensive country. It is expensive because all of their goods are imported. The children can’t afford to buy books to read.”
Realizing that the students could not afford books, Scott and Kinsella devised a plan to help the children—a book drive at their own middle school in Caldwell.
“The children of Anguilla need an education as well as we do,” said Scott. “They are poor, and can’t afford what we have here, but are anxious to get reading books. Also, people in America often just throw the books away.”
After returning to school, the students approached Principal James Brown who quickly approved the idea.
“Having been at the high school for six years, this is the type of endeavor high school students usually take on,” said Brown. “With Kaitlyn and Emma, the good act of helping others sparked their interest in doing a book drive. They were so excited about getting the book collection off and running with the support of the school.”
The girls recruited a few friends to help with the project, seventh graders Amanda Herzig and Lauren Conahan, and presented their “A Book Can Make a Difference” idea at the school’s Open House last month. Students and families responded immediately. In less than two weeks, more than 12 boxes of books have been collected and more books arrive daily.
“When we finish with this book drive, we will be sending the books to our friend in Anguilla,” added Scott. “She will use what she needs, and send the rest to the schools and libraries.”
The girls are currently looking for ways to ship the books. With 12 boxes of books ready to ship and more coming in daily, shipping can become expensive. Anyone interested in helping to ship one or more boxes can contact the middle school at 973-228-9115.
When asked if they will do more projects like this one in the future, said Kinsella, “Yes, it feels good to do good for others.”
This article was provided by Caldwell-West Caldwell Schools.