¡Libros Para Niños! Community Service Project Connects Millis Grade 3 and 4 Students with Nicaragua

Issue Date: 
January, 2017
Article Body: 

Students in Mrs. Jackie Mellin’s Grade 3 and Mrs. Amie Colcord’s Grade 4 classrooms are learning about community service leadership, first hand, as they seek the goal of sponsoring a “Story Corner” for a partner school in Nicaragua.
Over the summer, Jackie Mellin connected with a former friend and colleague from her undergraduate days, Jacob Carter. As a former Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Nicaragua, Mellin has always held an affinity for the Nicaraguan people and culture. When Carter mentioned that there was an opportunity for Mellin and her students to connect with a school in Nicaragua through ¡Libros Para Niños! to share learning and experiences, Mellin jumped at this opportunity.
¡Libros Para Niños! is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the joy of reading with children in Nicaragua by offering lending libraries of high quality children’s books in Spanish around the country. Due to high levels of poverty in Nicaragua, many children do not have the opportunity to be exposed to good literature; ¡Libros Para Niños strives to expand children’s imaginations and promote literacy through these lending libraries. Through discussion and collaborative decision-making, these Millis third and fourth grade students decided to partner with a school in La Concepción, Masaya, a marginalized community in Nicaragua, in sponsoring a “Story Corner” – a beautifully decorated space run by local facilitators who organize fun reading activities throughout the year and lend books out to children. Students began to think of ways that they could work together in “meeting” children from this school and in helping to get great books into the Nicaraguan children’s hands.
Recently, Carter visited with the Grade 3 and Grade 4 Millis students and facilitated a Skype session with a school in La Concepción, Masaya. Millis students met Nicaraguan students and shared information about their homes and cultures – Millis students were surprised to learn that the students they were speaking with had to leave their school and go across the street to a local park to connect with the free wireless service offered there, as their school was not connected to the Internet! Following this fun visit, Millis students got down to work in planning their support for their Nicaraguan Sister School. Currently, the students have worked with adults in establishing a “Go Fund Me” website; several students in Amie Colcord and Jackie Mellin’s classes have had birthday parties where contributions to the website were given rather than party gifts. Through the creative efforts of these third and fourth grade classes and their teachers, they have raised $675 towards their goal of $2,500, the cost of sponsoring a half Story Corner – they have determined that they have raised 27% of the funds necessary and are inspired to persevere!
The Millis third and fourth graders also planned a school-wide dime drive in late December and hope to hold a school-wide event for Millis families – as all students at Clyde F. Brown Elementary School are either learning Spanish or are learning IN Spanish.
Contributions to ¡Libros Para Niños! in support of the efforts of the Millis third and fourth graders can be made at: www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/SisterSchool/clydebrownelementary ; more information about the work of ¡Libros Para Niños!can be found at www.lpninos.org