The first grade class at Millbrook’s Dutchess Day School recently spearheaded and managed a major book drive to benefit the Astor Head Start programs for children in Wingdale. The students created their own advertising strategy, mostly involving homemade posters, announcements at lunch, and notifications in the weekly family newsletter. They wanted books – any and all books – for people of all ages.
First grade teacher Nancy Pelletier says that she loves seeing the students work on this project because “from making the posters to carrying boxes of books, looking through them and sorting, they are so invested and love the idea of giving books to children who don’t necessarily have access to books the way they do.”
The first graders collected more than 2,000 books over the course of several weeks. Almost half of those were considered perfect books to donate directly to Astor. The rest of the books were put on display on tables in the DDS lobby and sold for $1.00 each. Students, teachers, staff, and parents perused the samplings whenever they could, and the numbers of books gradually dwindled as sales were made. The $533.00 in proceeds will be used to purchase more children’s books for the Astor Head Start programs.
Margaret Dreier, reading and math specialist, has been doing a version of the book drive since 1995. As with the food drive that she started back in the late 1980s that is also still ongoing, the book drive’s beneficiaries were the children and families of Astor Head Start. Ms. Dreier says, “Besides the food and book drives, we have taken Dutchess Day student musicians over to them to perform and demonstrate instruments, and have visited and played with the children. We have had many great moments there, and we have benefited at least as much as they have from the relationship.”