May 14, 2014

NYSUT teams with locals to help provide free books to needy kids

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. May 14, 2014 - New York State United Teachers and local unions in the northern reaches of the Capital Region are teaming with First Book on a union-led campaign to distribute more than 40,000 new, free books to needy students, under-served schools and non-profits beginning in September.

First BookThe campaign and its details will be announced at a news conference at 10:15 a.m., Thursday, May 15, at the F. Donald Myers Education Center School Library, 15 Henning Road, Saratoga Springs.

NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said the "First Book Truckload Challenge" is designed to impart in children a love of reading, and to further involve teachers, parents and school communities in enriching the lives of students. "When kids fall in love with books and reading, the doors of opportunity open even wider and nothing can stop them," Magee said.

Magee noted this new First Book partnership was created by school-related professionals - all members of the Saratoga Adirondack BOCES Employees Association - who work for the component school districts of the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Essex-Hamilton BOCES.

First Book is a national not-for-profit that has already distributed more than 100 million free books to needy students throughout the United States and Canada. NYSUT and one of its national affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers, are longstanding partners with First Book and have launched other challenges throughout the state, including in Buffalo, Albany, Schenectady, New York City and several Long Island communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy. To be eligible for a truckload of 40,000 free books through First Book, 2,000 educators, parents and community members from the Capital Region must sign up to participate at between May 15 and June 27.

"We are proud to stand with New York educators and help them get the books their students so desperately need," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "We're even more thrilled to have so many local educators and leaders permanently connected to First Book's resources, so we can provide ongoing access to new, high-quality books and materials."

Ruth Shippee, president of the Saratoga Adirondack BOCES Employees Association and dean of students for the WSWHE BOCES, noted, "First Book is giving us the opportunity to transform the lives of children in need in the Capital Region and elevating the quality of education by making these new, high-quality books available to students."

Sandra Carner-Shafran, a SABEA officer and member of the NYSUT Board of Directors, said the First Book drive is coming at a perfect time. "Because many districts have had to cut back on funding to our school and public libraries, we wanted to help our communities with this challenge that will generate 40,000 new books for all of our children."

WSWHE BOCES Superintendent James P. Dexter said he is a strong supporter of the "Truckload Challenge," adding, "I am confident that the outstanding educators in this area can meet this challenge, which will most certainly benefit children and families."

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.