On June 21, 2011, Essex Elementary School presented Sister Cities Essex Haiti with a check for $8,275 to support the proposed library/community center in Deschapelles, Haiti. The students raised the funds in the Spring of 2011 during a three-week Read-a-Thon in which 107 students read 34,448 pages in a total of 727 books.
The library/community center will provide the children with a place to study after dark. Most households in Deschapelles do not have electricity. This means children often must study and do school work under street lamps. Few libraries exist in rural Haiti, with limited opportunities to borrow or buy books.
In addition to funds raised by individual students, the school and PTO also held a family reading night, after-school reading sessions, and other activities.
“We are so proud of the students,” said Principal Dr. Joanne Beekley. “I extend my sincere thank you to all of the children and their families for participating in our fundraiser. Additionally, local businesses donated to the Read-a-Thon including The Red Balloon, Pat’s Kountry Kitchen, Toys Ahoy, Essence, and Conway, Londregan, Sheehan, and Monaco, P.C.”
Sister Cities gives a heartfelt thank-you to the students at Essex Elementary School, the teachers, administration and staff who supported this project, and to all the parents, relatives and friends who participated in the Read-a-Thon.