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Celebrating with Dr. Seuss

Greenspring volunteers donate books, time to local students

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May 25th, 2017
Crestwood Elementary school staff and students join Greenspring volunteers in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Crestwood Elementary school staff and students join Greenspring volunteers in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Recently, generous Greenspring residents, led by the community’s Catholic Council, raised more than $2,000 to provide 660 grade-appropriate books to students at Crestwood Elementary School.

In honor of the National Education Association’s “Read Across America Day,” also known as Dr. Seuss’s birthday, members of the Greenspring community, many wearing Cat-in-the-Hat striped hats, visited the school to deliver the books. Time was also set aside for the volunteers to read to the students and distribute Dr. Seuss pins.

Since 2013, Greenspring community members have donated more than 3,000 books to the students, many of whom would not otherwise have their own books to read. Despite its location in Fairfax County, one of the nation’s most affluent counties, more than half the children at Crestwood Elementary come from low-income families. 

“The program is well supported at Greenspring for a number of reasons, one being that most of us had no idea how much poverty there is in our county,” says community member Judy Molseed, who organizes the program for the Catholic Council. “What’s more, we all understand the value of learning and the enjoyment of reading.”

Making ends meet

In order to provide all students with their own book, Greenspring works directly with the national bookseller, Scholastic Books, to purchase books at cost, which are then shipped, free of charge, to the school. Crestwood Elementary staff members help select age-appropriate books for all students in pre-kindergarten through six grade. 

“It’s a joy to see just how much our efforts are appreciated,” says Judy. “We’ve been making the donations for the last five years, and it’s rewarding to see how much it has meant to the now-older students. During this last visit, I enjoyed hearing the older kids remark on the younger students’ books saying things like, ‘Oh, I read that one, you’ll love it.’ It really is a wonderful program.”

The generosity of the Greenspring community will go a long way in helping the children as they advance academically. According to the Educational Testing Service, the more types of reading materials available in the home, the higher students score in reading proficiency.

“I know all of us are so uplifted by the children,” says Judy. “They are a gift to us as much as the books are a gift to them.”

The ties that bind

In addition to raising money for new books, many Greenspring community members wish to do even more for these children. Last year, in an effort to expand their outreach, they partnered with GrandInvolve, a new Fairfax County initiative to recruit older adult volunteers to work in local schools with high poverty and minority enrollment.  

Each Wednesday, the program provides a bus to transport Greenspring volunteers to and from Crestwood Elementary to mentor students; read books; and work in the classrooms, library, and copy center.

“It’s so great for our children to see so many different faces that care about them, who want to take the time to get to know them and build relationships,” says Crestwood Elementary Principal Tim Kasik. “That’s what being a school community is all about.”

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