Today’s guest blog post is from Julia Falkenstern, a Strategic Alliances coordinator at First Book. Julia works with corporate partners like Barclays, KPMG and Pi Beta Phi to ensure that children from low-income families throughout the country have the opportunity to own new books.
At the end of May, First Book staff traveled across the country to join Barclays volunteers at Berkley Maynard Academy, a K-8 school in the Aspire Public Schools charter network, in Oakland, CA. The volunteers were there to read with second grade students as part of the very first Barclays reading party on the West Coast.
The volunteers and young readers traded off reading Something Beautiful, Luna Moths: Masters of Change, and the Barclays special edition of The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense to one another. At the end of the reading party, the children were ecstatic to learn that they would each be taking home the three new books in a Barclays backpack.
James Willcox, CEO of Aspire Public Schools, was also on hand to read to students and talk with volunteers about the great things happening at Berkley Maynard and other Aspire Public Schools. He mentioned that in 2010, 100% of Aspire’s graduating seniors were accepted to college, exemplifying the charter school network’s motto, “College for Certain.”
Like Aspire Public Schools, Barclays strives to prepare students for college. In addition to hosting reading parties like the one at Berkley Maynard, Barclays has provided 10 schools with book grants to the College Prep and Personal Finance sections of the First Book Marketplace.