Girl Scout Brings Gold to South Africa’s Youngest Students
Christina Vanech at opening of kindergarten room
In August 2008 Thabisile Primary School saw South African teachers, educational officers and community development agents, as well as parents from communities surrounding the school's campus in Soweto, all coming to visit and leaving thoroughly impressed. The reason? A model kindergarten room created as a Girl Scout Gold Award project by Christina Vanech.
“The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout 14-18 may earn.” According to the Girl Scouts, the award could be described as being "what you really want to be remembered for" in Girl Scouting. For many, the leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment that come from "going for the Gold" set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.”
Visitors to the model kindergarten created by Christina suggested that the room ought to be the standard for kindergartens in their schools as well. More...
Students Support International Literacy Day with "Backpacks for Kids"
Hayley Diverio and Alexis Grieco of Gill St. Bernard's
Gladstone, NJ, September 10, 2008--Alexis Grieco and Hayley Diverio (right to left in photo) are working hard so that dozens of children in Kenyan slum schools will celebrate the start of their school year with a back-to-school gift from charitable Gill St. Bernard’s students. More...
CDS Students Raise Funds for South African School
7.- Designed by Mrs. Pamela Klurfield, students in grades four and six made and sold
beautiful beaded bracelets this week in a special Global
Literacy Project fundraiser. The proceeds of over $350 will
help purchase anthologies for the Thabisile School in Soweto,
South Africa. More...
Easing the Transition to English for New Jersey Kindergarten Students
7, 2008.- GLP, through the aid of Rutgers student volunteers, began a small pilot to provide
kindergarten students in New Brunswick, New Jersey with bilingual
books. Utilizing LeapFrog interactive books, the expectation
is that this approach will ease the transition from the mother
language spoken at home to the general use of English.
working on a wider pilot that will kick off in September 2008.
At that point, kindergartners will be encouraged to take the
books home and have them sit down to read with an older family
Way Goes "Above and Beyond"!
28, 2008.- The Mountain Way Kindergarten School in Morris Plains held a book drive in support
of GLP as a part of their character education program, What a Character! In this program the students attend meetings with their grade level and are
introduced to themes relating to good character. For the second quarter, the school's theme was We Care, a study of compassion and caring.
drive was set up in this quarter as an Above and Beyond activity the students could choose to participate in. Information was sent home explaining the project and students sorted through
their old books at home, or purchased new books and writing
supplies to add to the ever-growing pile of collections in
our school lobby.
organizations were involved as well. The Morris Plains Borough Library and Community Center advertised the book drive
for us and served as a secondary collection spots. They played a big part in the success of this activity.
Third Grade Students Make New Friends
in South Africa
February 2008.- Pingry third graders have been making new friends with their peers from Zuubrkom Intermediate School in South Africa. More...
Teen Aims to Transform Children's World
Milena Lurie reads with her excited young hosts
June 2008.- 14-year-old Milena Lurie and her mother heard of the Global Literacy Project's work in 2006 through mutual acquaintences of high school sophomore Christina Vanech. They were impressed how Christina's family and peers at the Pingry School in New Jersey worked with the organization and other schools in the area to collect and ship thousands of books to disadvantaged students in Johannesburg, South Africa.
At the time, the Global Literacy Project was working at Kadalure Village, in Tamil Nadu (South India), at the Delta Training Campus where a high quality reference library for young women from poor rural communities pursuing careers in nursing was established. Milena’s and her mother’s involvement subsequently enabled the Global Literacy Project to expand its focus to include the Lady Lynn Joyful Home orphanage, (run by the Integrated Rural Development Center, IRDC, which provides relief to the rural areas of Pudukottai District) and ten additional village schools in Gandharvakottai
With a tremendous response from her friends and well-wishers, Lurie was able to collect books on a wide range of subjects and received surprise donations from Disney Books and Scholastic Publishers as well. With several months of often intense following up she ended up collecting close to 50,000 books! A portion of these books was given to the Lady Lynn Joyful Home and the remainder is reserved for the ten village schools. In recognition of this enormous gesture of good will, as well as the fact that Milena decided to follow the books to India where she volunteered to help set up the actual library room, the Global Literacy Project decided to name the orphanage library in her honor.
Read about Milena's project in SPAN, the magazine of the American Embassy in New Delhi HERE.
Day School Students Recognized for Commitment to Global Outreach
and Awareness with South African School
19.- Over the past academic year, Chatham Day School has partnered with the Thabisile
School in Soweto, South Africa, to bring a global awareness
to students on both continents.
year-long initiative, encompassed global exchanges, such
as pen pal letters, videotape and photo stories, community
service events, book drives and an infusion of each country’s history and culture into their respective social studies curriculum. The Chatham Day School students also hosted a visitor from Thabisile during
the month of February and in return, the students of Thabisile
will host a Chatham Day School teacher in August.
Dr. Edward Ramsamy of GLP; Dr. Pamela Fiander, Head of School--Chatham
Day School; Dr. Olubayi Olubayi of GLP
February, Chatham Day School students sold baked goods that
they prepared at school and raised enough money to purchase
the Thabisile School’s first computer. In May, self-made bracelets were sold by the students to raise
funds for anthologies for the African school, as well.
Monday, Chatham Day School (CDS) and Global Literacy Project,
Inc. (GLP) celebrated the completion of this year-long
School-to-School Partnership. Dr. Olubayi, president
of GLP, presented Dr. Fiander with a plaque for the school; Mrs. Greco was recognized for her personal
commitment, and each student in the fourth and sixth grades
was given a Certificate of Commendation in recognition
of Global Citizenship. GLP decided to recognize the students with commendation certificates as their
participating in the global outreach fulfilled the five
areas of Global Citizenship by:
Greco, Community Service Director
awareness of the fact that we share the world with other
people, and that events in one part of the world affect
people in other parts
in active service learning projects to meet the needs
of other people abroad, and to deepen their own ability
to make a difference
out to persons outside their own culture with the aim
of promoting inter-cultural understanding, and personal
sense of membership in a broad global community
a sense of tolerance and respect for diversity
empathy with, and an active concern for people in other
countries, and reflect on questions of interdependence,
social justice and equity.
also recognized the school under the leadership of Dr. Pamela
Fiander and its community service director, Mrs. Donna Greco. (See also this Chatham Courier article)
Lakes Girl Scouts Reach Out to Assist African Students with Community-wide Book Drive
May 16, 2008.- GLP
Trustees Edward Ramsamy and Kavitha Ramachandran recently
visited with Abby Kimmelman and her friends to talk about
what kind of impact New Jersey students can have to make
a difference for students in Africa. Abby Kimmelman
is a student at the Pingry School in Martinsville, NJ where
she got to know about GLP through the GLP Club there. As
part of her Girl Scout Silver Awards project, she and 6 other
girls form her Girl Scout troop in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
are working on a town-wide book drive to help benefit GLP.
They have already collected several thousand books. Ramsamy
gave the scout troop some first hand recollections from his
youth growing up in apartheid South Africa.
Middle School Students Make "Pie" Faces Out of Their Teachers as GLP Fundraiser
May 14, 2008.-Pingry Middle School students raised $2,730.25 for GLP when
students threw pies at their teachers at a cost of five dollars per
The activity was hosted by the Middle School's Global Literacy Club and they intend to sponsor a kindergarten renovation with the monies collected.
Grade 6 Students at the Pingry Middle School Use Their Birthdays to Support African Kindergartens
May 7, 2008.- Eight Grade 6 students at the Pingry Middle School recently decided to use their birthday celebration to give a collective gift to the Global Literacy Project (GLP).
Their school mates, Sean and Reeve Carver and Neeraj Shekhar had visited South Africa the previous summer and returned with the quest to help improve several of the elementary and kindergarten classrooms in the schools they visited on a follow-up trip slated for summer 2008.
Drew Topor, Camille Vanasse, Nikky Zezza, Lizzie Abbott, Morgan Wahby, Haley LaFontaine, Mikaela Lewis, and Kyle Casey asked their families and other Grade 6 families to make donations to GLP in lieu of receiving presents for their birthdays. To show their support, the families raised $5,000. On May 7, 2008, the students presented a ceremonial check to GLP representative Dr. Emeka Akaezuwa.
Supporters Join with the American Business Editor of The Economist To Talk About the "New" Philanthropy
Olubayi, Christina Vanech, Edward Ramsamy (moderator), Jeanette
Goodson, Matthew Bishop
29, 2008.- An animated group of speakers came together at Rutgers University to explore
the relationship between philanthropy and politics (view copy of program poster HERE).
in the Scholarly Communication Center Lecture Hall of Alexander Library on the College Avenue campus, "The New Philanthropy: Prospects and Challenges" panel featured members, volunteers and partners of The Global Literacy Project,
Inc., along with Matthew Bishop, the American business editor
of The Economist and the publication's chief business writer. More...
Donation to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Will Make An Impact
According to Ministry Officials
the end of February the island nation of Saint Vincent and
the Grenadines (SVG) officially distributed its first GLP
consignment of books and literacy support materials.
outcome of nearly two years of discussions between The Global
Literacy Project and the Education Project Management Unit
of SVG, the donation was in response to a troubling trend
where teaching professionals were seeing reading failure
in schools as early as kindergarten; a trend that was even
more compounded as children moved through the education system.
an analysis of the 2005 Grade 6 Reading Assessment carried
out by the SVG government revealed that in certain areas
over sixty percent of the students were reading two years
behind their chronological age, the SVG Ministry of Education
embarked on an aggressive reading and writing intervention
where they reached out for support from the European Union,
GLP and other potential partners for resource support. GLP
in evaluating the state of education in SVG concluded that
a major requirement was the need for a culture of reading
to be spread throughout the island starting from the kindergarten
and primary school level. This in turn required a general
availability of books! Thus the idea of the initial contribution
from GLP was developed. This proactive intervention by the
SVG government has seen a dramatic turn around in performance throughout the island with the results of the 2007
Grade 6 Reading Assessment showing a marked improvement in
reading abilities. Some 58.6% of Grade 6 students are now
reading at or above above the Grade 6 Level. This has recommitted
the SVG government to continue its literacy interventions
as the aim is for all students to read at their appropriate
core component of the GLP donation will be the establishment
of library collections in twelve Community Learning Centers
throughout the nation. Another part of the collection established:
Math resource section in the island's sole community college
resource section of up-to-date nursing books for the island's
School of Nursing
collections in 26 secondary schools
systematic reading/writing intervention program for six
primary schools with the lowest reading/writing scores
units in over a dozen secondary schools
receiving the donation, SVG's Minister of Education, the
Hon. Girlyn Miguel stressed the timeliness and usefulness
of the materials. Video of Acknowledgement...
Jersey Students Work to Help Transform Education for Partner
School in South Africa
25, 2008.-The students of Chatham Day School (CDS), located in northern New Jersey, are
taking a hands-on approach to cross-cultural learning
Working with the assistance of the
Global Literacy Project, Chatham Day School has partnered
with a South African primary school named Thabisile Primary
School. Thabisile is a small township school located
in one of the poorest areas of Soweto.
into the Middle School social studies and language arts curricula
the purpose of the program is to enable intercultural dialogue
and to increase knowledge and understanding of each other's
societies. The partnership program has become and exciting
and effective way of providing learners with an understanding
and knowledge of the world.This year's partnership is culminating
with CDS students collecting textbooks and other appropriate
educational materials, including teacher manuals, for every
grade of Thabisile school. Their donations will create for
the first time, learning libraries in each classroom of Thabisile.
The students have also helped to upgrade productivity tools
for Thabisile teachers by providing a laptop for instructional
use as well as a video camcorder to enable cross school dialogue
from South Africa to the USA.
students also now see development issues as personal rather
than theoretical as a result of communicating directly with
Thabisile students and hosting a teacher from Thabisile. "Our students are now more enthused and willing to become more involved,” said Donna Greco, coordinator of the CDS end of the program. More..
Autobiography Reflects on the Children’s March That Challenged South African Apartheid
16-28, 2008.-In apartheid South Africa of the 1970s Caroline Setsiba became part of a generation
of students who directly challenged apartheid rule in
South Africa. However, for many years Setsiba did not
reflect on her own story at all. “It was painful to remember about those things happen to you. Also, as dramatic
as my story might be, I didn’t think anyone outside my family would be interested” she told audiences at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Hobart and
William Smith Colleges in New York and at the Pingry
School (Upper and Middle) in New Jersey.
visit to the U.S. was sponsored by The Global Literacy Project,
Inc., a New Jersey-based non-profit organization that establishes
and promotes literacy in developing countries. This sponsorship,
under GLP’s “Campaign for Literacy,” allowed the apartheid survivor to come to the States and thank the organization
and its many volunteers for their ongoing commitment towards
supporting excellence in education for South African children
and adults. More...________(Take a look at this news coverage of her visit to the Pingry School in New Jersey HERE or this story from The Pingry Review)
Denise Lewis Patrick Helps GLP Celebrate African American
Dancing Shoes, Madear’s Old Green House, and The Longest Ride all by Denise Lewis Patrick were just a few of the books brought to life at
Chatham Day School on February 4 for the school's inaugural
support of the "African American Read-In Chain," a program developed by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers
of English and now endorsed by The Global Literacy Project.
The chain involves reading works authored by African American
writers at community sites and in school buildings at the
beginning of African American History Month.
working with Community Service Director, Donna Greco, decided
to treat CDS students in grades K-3 to a day of readings, literature
circles, and the opportunity to meet and talk with the author.
Author Patrick responded to the many questions that students
had about writing. A piece of advice that fit very well with
the goal of the day: “If you want to be a good writer, the
first thing you should do is be an avid reader.” She also talked
about how important stories were for African Americans both
in remembering where they came from but also in imagining the
goals they still had before them to accomplish.
Every class had an opportunity to visit
individually with the author, ask questions, interview her,
and take pictures. The author delighted the students with her
responses about writing in the midst of an active family, and
spoke about what some of her characters might do next.
Lower School Library Hosts National African American Read-In
With GLP Trustee
February 4, 2008, the Pingry School Library hosted the National
African American Read-In for all students in the school from
Kindergarten through grade 5. Short Hills Library Director
Ann D’Innocenzo said, “My goal in hosting this day was to increase
awareness of the importance of African American children's
literature and to celebrate the African American culture in
our Pingry community.”
to show the global connections that African American literature
draws upon, guest readers also included Dr. Edward Ramsamy,
a professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University as well
as a GLP Trustee.
the day classes visited the library where Dr. Ramsamy presented
on Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who both led movements
for human rights in South African history. Dr. Ramsamy then
explained his interest in how the struggle for rights in South
Africa and America informed each other especially the way Gandhi's
ideas informed and infused Martin Luther King, Jr.'s non-violent
campaign in the US.
other African-American guests, some of whom are Pingry parents,
read books to the students that were written and illustrated
by African-Americans. Dr. Ramsamy also quizzed the students
about South African and African-American history and stressed
that students can reach out beyond their immediate classrooms
to find similar dreams and struggles. He noted that, “What
[the G.L.P.] tries to do is emphasize that education is more
than what you learn in the classroom. Education extends beyond
the classroom to show how you form connections with people
near and far.”
First Graders Use Their Birthday to Collect Books for GLP
30, 2008.- Elisha and Michelle are twin sisters who are in the first grade at Tamaques
Elementary School in Westfield, New Jersey. As young readers,
they are appreciative of how wonderful it is to be able
to read. They also understand that not everyone has the
opportunity or resources to learn to read. When they learned
of the Global Literacy Project and all that the organization
does to promote literacy around the world, they decided
that they wanted to do something to help.
their family recently began preparations for their birthday
party to celebrate turning seven, together they decided that,
instead of having their friends bring birthday gifts, they
would ask them to donate books to the Global Literacy Project.
Their friends from Tamaques Elementary School all brought
books (several hundred) to donate to this important cause.
Their mom, Lisa was very inspired and touched by this contribution
by Elisha and Michelle and their friends and said that she
hopes it's "just the beginning of a lifetime of efforts they will make to help change the
world for the better." So do we Elisha and Michelle!
Books On Their Way to Young Readers for the Holiday Season
24, 2007.- With book donations from bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, publishers, and public libraries as well as many individuals and civic groups
across the USA, some 50,000 books will reach the hands
of young readers over this holiday season.
have worked hard over the last few weeks collecting and sorting
books for distribution over the holidays. Children from such
disparate communities as 1000 families in New Brunswick,
New Jersey to students in Western Kenya and students in the
Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will
all have new access to books!
Global Literacy Project, Inc., P.O. Box 1859, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0228
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Literacy Project, Inc. Terms