Six years ago, Sue Resnick and Liz Frankel started the Cottage Kids Read program at the Pleasantville Cottage School. While volunteering at the school they noticed something that struck them. There weren’t any books to read for pleasure in the cottages where the students lived.
Located in Pleasantville, NY, the residential treatment facility serves kids who have been neglected, abused, or whose families are unable to care for them.
Sue and Liz knew books could be a solace for kids who may lack a source of calm in their daily lives. Reading stories or poems that interest them could open up new worlds. After they identified the issue, Sue and Liz went to the school’s Therapeutic Arts Director, Dee Hanbury, to find a solution.
Three years ago Dee, Sue and Liz discovered First Book campaigns. Since then, volunteers and staff have had great success raising the money they need to purchase books through First Book. They’ve used First Book campaigns to not only fill the cottages with books, but to expose kids to new ideas and help them dream big.
Now, when kids see Sue and Liz on campus, they ask for books by name. The kids have their favorite authors. Liz and Sue have created a culture of reading that not only helps kids grow, but has therapeutic benefits as some work through complex emotional challenges.
They say that reading gives them an escape when they need to get away from bad memories or from their peers to get some space,” says Dee.
The volunteers and staff see the impact books have on kids’ lives — it’s why they work tirelessly to raise more money each year. And with First Book campaigns, their work can go even further.