Altrusa of Rochester brings the love of reading to RCSD students

Altrusa of Rochester brings the love of reading to RCSD students

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• May 10, 2015

One finds the unexpected at garage sales.Altrussa-page-0-580x448

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.

see Getting the “Word” out at East

Alrussa 2I 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.

For more on RIA, see Bridging digital divides at Rochester International Academy and For some, a Thanksgiving first at the Rochester International Academy

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

Building the new East one purple bookbag at a time

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY and Lake Affect Magazine.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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