FirstUU is in the second year of a three-year pilot project to promote social justice through the support of education and literacy in Philadelphia. If you haven’t already seen them, check out the photos of the school supplies donated by members of PhilaUU for the children at the Andrew Jackson School on 12th and Federal Streets. They’re posted in the lobby on the Social Justice bulletin board. Kudos to Connie Simon and Lisa Handy for organizing and powering this very successful supplies drive.
Later, Deb Schultz, head of the Social Justice Ministry Team, and I went back to Andrew Jackson to help organize the library, which has been relatively unused for some time. The Phila. school district sent a library specialist, and some parents from the school also joined us. The initial task was to sort by grade level hundreds of books donated to the school by members of the surrounding community. These books are intended to be the core of individual classroom libraries. After a renovation of the library space is completed, more assistance will be needed to prepare for circulation the old and some new books that will be arriving this school year. While we were there, the news arrived that the library had been awarded a $2,000 grant to purchase additional books. The renovation project of the library space has already begun and should be completed soon.
We learned that the school’s new principal will welcome additional volunteers to come to the school and be a “reading buddy” to children while they read, to help out in classrooms, to act as translators at monthly parent meetings and to assist in the library and office. There are also other opportunities to promote education and literacy at other Philadelphia schools and institutions.