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WeLoveU’s Book Drive for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital hopes to provide the youth with a story they can each treasure and call their own.

In the month of January, WeLoveU was abuzz spreading the news about their month-long book drive for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. For the children and young adults who come near and far for treatment, they turn to books for courage, strength, and hope. This is especially true after speaking to Amy Glazer, Executive Director of Development, at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center.

“Books are used for distraction during medical procedures, and reading promotes relaxation during stressful times. The Child Life team at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital focuses on maintaining development during a child’s hospital stay. Reading is an important component in this mission,” says Amy Glazer. 

The hospital, outfitted and designed for the care of children aged from infancy to young adulthood, goes through plenty of books for their youthful patients to peruse. Each patient is allowed one book of their own to keep, from the time they check in the hospital until the time they return home. With the numerous families seeking care and treatment for their loved ones, the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital could certainly use a helping hand themselves.

All Hands on Deck!

The WeLoveU Foundation put out a call to collect books for the children’s hospital, who provides each of its patients a book they can call their own. The goal at hand: collect 2,000 new children’s books. For the whole month of January, WeLoveU partnered with Barnes & Noble, sharing the book drive with neighbors, friends, families, and city officials.

The month-long drive garnered support from Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse (top left), Radio Hall of Fame DJ Bert Baron (top right), and more than 140 WeLoveU volunteers whose workplaces also participated by donating books. A donation even came through AmazonSmile from India!

With an overwhelmingly positive response and meeting their goal, the WeLoveU Foundation couldn’t wait to see the final result.

World Read Aloud Day

In the midst of the book drive, WeLoveU volunteers celebrated World Read Aloud Day on February 1, 2019. On this day, people around the world read aloud together and share stories advocating for literacy as a human right, which belongs to all people.

WeLoveU volunteers visited and read to children in the Princeton Young Achievers program in Princeton, New Jersey. It’s a unique after-school program at the YMCA that aims to improve students school performance and English language skills.

Lisette, a WeLoveU volunteer who read to the students said, “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community in this way. I enjoyed reading aloud to the children today. Not only did we share a story, but we were able to share happiness and emotions between one another. Seeing the children smile and have fun in this way made me feel accomplished.”

Delivery!

On Thursday, February 7, 2019, WeLoveU volunteers packed all 2,000 books and drove them over to the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital for the big delivery.

A group of volunteers on-site helped set up the boxes and books for the group photo. Hospital personnel attending the book drive delivery included Vice-chair of Pediatrics Dr. Stephen Percy, Executive Director of Development Amy Glazer, Supervisor of Child Life Ellen Goldring, and Child Life Specialist Erika Bella.

The Vice President of the WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region, delivered a brief speech on behalf of the organization. For some of the hospital staff, it was their first time hearing about WeLoveU and its mission. While others recognize us from the 2017 Toy Drive for the children’s hospital. 

Final Thoughts

“Having a donation of 2,000 books will provide many children and their families opportunities to escape from the stress of being in a hospital and read a good book together,” said the Executive Director of Development.

When asked about his thoughts were about the WeLoveU Foundation and their book drive, Dr. Stephen Percy (right) responded with a laugh saying, “Let’s do this every week!”

He continues saying, “I think its tremendous. What we do is not only share the books with them, but let them go home with books. I always tell parents the best thing you can do with your kids is read to them. This is a terrific start to have the resources to allow us to do that. Thank you very much for what you do and keep doing it. You’re making a difference in the world every day.”

Thanks everyone who participated, the book drive was a great success. The WeLoveU Foundation looks forward to having more events like this, working together to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that were set in 2015. This event in particular is a step closer to fulfilling Goal #4—Quality Education.

 

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