Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Spring breakers help in Rotary book drive

Published:Sunday | April 18, 2010 | 4:00 AM
Spring breakers helping to sort boxes of books to be shipped to Jamaica.
Spring breakers getting ready to load boxes into a container to be shipped. - Contributed photos
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COCONUT CREEK, Florida:

A faculty advisEr's visit to his native Jamaica seven years ago made him aware of the critical lack of reading materials in some schools and public libraries islandwide. Through his experience students at University School of Nova Southeastern University, involved in the Books For Jamaica project, were inspired recently to help Rotary Clubs in Jamaica set a new Guinness World Record. To make the group's goal a reality they partnered with South Florida-based international relief organisation Food for The Poor.

"The books have been well-received and have made a great difference in the lives of young readers," said Edwardo Johnson, World Languages chair at University School of Nova Southeastern University and founder of the school's Books For Jamaica project. Since 2003 the project at the Davie, Florida, school has shipped more than 30,000 books to Jamaica.

New Guinness World Record

Johnson recently read in The Gleaner about Rotary's Race to Literacy Book Drive project. Supporters of the Books For Jamaica project and Future Business Leaders of America decided to participate with Rotary Clubs in Jamaica as Rotarians there attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the 'Most Books Donated to Charity in Seven Days'. Several dedicated students gave up two days of their coveted spring break to help pack and deliver the books to Food for The Poor's office in Coconut Creek.

In Jamaica, books will be officially collected May 1 through May 7 at Emancipation Park. Residents of Jamaica who would like to donate books are encouraged to contact the Rotary Club of Kingston. To make the May deadline Food for The Poor had to ship Books For Jamaica donations by March 30.

"We sincerely appreciate everyone's support," said Deika Morrison, a member of Rotary Club of Kingston. "Together we can set a new record right here in Jamaica, and more importantly help to shape an entire generation through the provision of much-needed books, the necessary increased awareness about the importance of literacy and the demonstration of our ability to work together as stakeholders for the cause."

"It also provided the students first-hand experience in collecting, sorting, transporting and shipping," said Johnson. "We accepted books that were in excellent condition with a preference for new or gently used ones. The most critical need is for reading material for children and young adults."

Books For Jamaica project volunteer Chris Sammis said, "Helping out with the book drive was fun. It was definitely interesting to see all the different books that were donated."

University School's Books For Jamaica project was started in 2003 by Johnson and past student Jared Baumwell in an effort to motivate and inspire others to share the gift of literacy with Jamaicans. Donations for the ongoing project can be coordinated by emailing Johnson at edwardoj@nova.edu.