• May 10, 2015
This Saturday, while looking for a kitchen table, I discovered one sale whose proceeds benefited Altrusa of Rochester. To my embarrassment, I was unaware of the group, part an international service organization founded in 1917 dedicated to improving communities worldwide. In recent years, the local chapter has focused on Literacy Projects, Joining Hearts and Hands, Bethany House and Scholarships for Girls and Women. (For full details, AltrusaRochester.org )
As an English teacher in the RCSD, I was especially thrilled to learn that, as of 2014, Altrusa has given over 10,000 new and gently used books to City School libraries. I know first hand those books were read. Contrary to prevailing opinion, reports of the death of reading have been widely exaggerated. Walk into any city school library and you will see a hubub of activity, a learning sanctuary, a space where its cool to be seen with a book, whether a graphic novel, teen lit, or–believe it or not–even a classic like A Lesson Before Dying.
I was particularly excited that in 2012 Altrusa initiated the Sammy Pierson Literacy Project in memory of one of its member’s grandsons. Since then, Altrusa has donated 6,500 books in Sammy’s name to the Rochester International Academy.
Home to refugee kids new to America and hungry to learn English, RIA is an ideal repository for these books so lovingly gathered by Altrusa volunteers. Last year, RIA’s librarian, Julianna Wise, showed me her magnificent display of multicultural texts representing countries and peoples worldwide, some of which no doubt were Altrusa contributions.
In this short space, I cannot list everything Altrusa of Rochester does. But this I can say: they need volunteers and books. So dig out those old copies of Fahrenheit 451 and Animal Farm. see also Building the new East one purple bookbag at a time