Camelot Teacher Overwhelmed by Response to Book Drive
When Kaitlyn Levy began teaching social studies at Excel Middle Years, she noticed immediately the dearth of books at the school. Levy, 24, who is part of the staff that launched this new Camelot program in September said the classroom libraries were small.
“There were only about four books in each class and I saw the need for more,” she said. “The more literate children are, the greater their chances for success. Reading builds academic potency and instilling a love of reading in kids is a win-win for them and for society in the long-term. It’s the gift of reading and knowledge.”
Excel Middle Years Academy in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia provides academic programs and services to about 100 middle grade students who find themselves in need of a smaller school setting. The Academy utilizes staff and resources in flexible ways that respond to student needs and prepares them for the high school selection process. Excel Middle Years Academy equips students with the skills required for middle and high school success, and provides support to students throughout the year.
Levy said she posted on her Facebook page about the need, asking people in her network for books. Her mother shared the posting with her Facebook Family. People began to contact her through her Facebook page. What happened next was nothing short of astounding.
“A teacher at a school in North Jersey reached out to me and her school donated about three hundred books. Marple Moms, the Facebook network I’m connected with, donated two hundred books and is planning to drop off more in a couple of days,” Levy said. “A church in Lansdowne, First Presbyterian Church of Lansdown offered to help and they donated more books. They also adopt schools, which means, whatever the students need to help them academically and become successful, they do. Whether it means getting them clothes or money for food, they do. It just snowballed. I mean it’s getting good crazy.”
Levy said when the books started arriving the children were deliriously happy and excited. They helped unload the books and stack them in classrooms. Some of them recognized books they had already read and wanted to read again. So far, through the generosity of Facebook friends connected with other friends on social media, almost a thousand books have been received by the school. Enough so that Excel Middle Years has its own library now.
“They asked, ‘Can I borrow this book, please?’ Of course, I told them. This just spread like crazy. Someone from New York has requested more information so it’s actually going out of the state. Through social media people saw a need and moved to meet that need. People who have been reaching out to people they don’t know; that’s humanity lifting up humanity. It’s what life is all about, isn’t it?”