Founded in 2003 in Rumson, the mission of Bridge of Books is to provide an ongoing source of books to underprivileged and at-risk children throughout New Jersey in order to support literacy skills and to encourage a love of reading, according to a prepared statement from the organization.
NJEA awarded the non-profit with a $10,000 grant to continue its work, according to the statement.
“We will use the award to supplement our donations by purchasing the books that we typically do not receive. This mainly includes Spanish/bilingual books, books for boys and books by diverse authors. We strive to ensure that there is something for everyone in each donation that we send out to kids in need across New Jersey,” Abigail Daly, the foundation’s founder and executive director, said in the statement.
Daly, along with her board of directors, was invited to attend the NJEA’s annual convention on Nov. 9 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
To date, almost 850,000 books have been donated to children across the state. The foundation has set a goal of 1 million books distributed by 2019, according to the statement.
Since 2011, NJEA’s Priority Schools Initiative (PSI) has developed a partnership with the Bridge of Books Foundation, working with selected schools to provide books for their students to take home and keep for their own. Several times each year, the students that attend the schools that PSI serves have benefited from their books at back-to-school nights, Read Across America, and summer reading programs, according to the statement.
“The members of the NJEA understand that books can change lives,” Daly said in the statement. “Teachers know that motivating children to read, and giving them access to books, is an important factor in student achievement and creativity.”
Amanda Adams, NJEA’s associate director for Professional Development and Instructional Issues Division, said that the foundation is a “21st-century people’s bridge. It is the bridge that ‘book-poor’ children can walk across on their journey to literacy.”
NJEA’s leadership encouraged their 203,000 members to partner with Bridge of Books in two ways: to request books to distribute to their students in book-poor areas or to provide books to the organization by empowering their students who have books in their home to take action and give back by holding a school book drive, according the prepared statement.
For more information, visit www.bridgeofbooksfoundation.org/about-us/our-history/.