Like many ARI employees, Stacy Shenker’s title must have been approved by the Department of Obfuscation: she is officially is an “Application Support Engineer III”, whatever that is. What I do know is that she helps me with my IT problems, of which I have plenty. And there are a few other surprising things you might not know about Stacy:
- She is a proud Trojan alumna of the University of Southern California.
- Cliff Lee was her favorite Phillie.
- Her son’s Paul’s little league team won the Cherry Hill Atlantic title this summer.
But possibly the most important thing you should know about Stacy is that for the first three weeks of August, she will be collecting new and lightly used children’s books for a program called BookSmiles.
BookSmiles is the brainchild of Stacy’s friend Larry Abrams, a Lindenwold High School teacher. Larry says that many toddlers in his district are rarely or never read to at home because the adults there lack the funds, motivation, or simple know-how to buy books and read them to their little ones. To combat these forces, Larry created the BookSmiles program. The concept is simple: he collects new and gently used books and then gives them away to parents, guardians, and children. Larry believes every child deserves his or her own library!
The genesis of the idea goes back several years when Larry asked one of his students, a senior and mother to a 3-year-old, if she were reading regularly to her daughter. She shook her head no, admitting that she didn’t have a single children’s book at home; further, she said many immigrants like her believed that it was the school’s job to teach children to read. That’s when Larry decided it was time to take action. Over the past few years he has given away thousands of books, setting the ambitious goal of having every child in Lindenwold reading by the time they reach kindergarten.
To help Larry, Stacy is collecting books at her desk on the second floor of the 2001/TIC Building. What kinds of books should you donate? BookSmiles needs board-books and early readers for babies and toddlers, as well as books for pre-K and early elementary readers. Clean those unused books off your shelves and give them a chance to be read and loved again!
Questions? Call Stacy at (856) 778-1500, x52889, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.