Northeast Times

Special reward for some special children

Gen­er­ous dona­tion of books brings plenty of smiles to staffers and young ones at May­fair child-care cen­ter.

First Book-Phil­adelphia was im­pressed with the work be­ing done at the Kinder Academy-May­fair child-care cen­ter, and agreed to provide a $1,200 grant.

Car­o­lyn Ash­burn, chair­wo­man of the loc­al First Book chapter, was so im­pressed dur­ing her on-site vis­it that she re­com­men­ded the child-care cen­ter for an ad­di­tion­al award.

New York-based KIND Healthy Snacks likes to per­form ran­dom acts of kind­ness and was seek­ing to re­ward a de­serving Phil­adelphia agency.

That’s when First Book-Phil­adelphia poin­ted the New York com­pany to the good work be­ing done at Kinder Academy-May­fair.

Two weeks ago, rep­res­ent­at­ives of First Book and KIND vis­ited the cen­ter, loc­ated for the last nine years in­side May­fair Pres­by­teri­an Church at 6300 Har­bison Ave., to de­liv­er $2,000 worth of books.

The snack com­pany’s motto is, “Do the KIND thing.”

“It’s really our so­cial mis­sion to make the world a little kinder,” said Mari Lee, the com­pany’s vice pres­id­ent of field mar­ket­ing.

Lee traveled from Chica­go. She was joined by a New York­er, Steph­en Rawl­ins, and two loc­als, Mor­gan Greene and Mi­chael Bern­ardo.

Leslie Spina, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of Kinder Care, ex­plained that the com­pany strives to of­fer a high-qual­ity preschool pro­gram, not a baby-sit­ting ser­vice.

Tra­cia Walzer dir­ects the May­fair site, which cares for 130 chil­dren. The preschool is avail­able to kids ran­ging from in­fants to pre-kinder­garten age. There’s also an after-school pro­gram for stu­dents up to fourth grade.

Spina said she is very ap­pre­ci­at­ive that KIND chose a Kinder Academy site for a dona­tion.

“They have a com­mit­ment to com­munity and lit­er­acy,” she said.

Spina ad­ded that First Book has been a great part­ner in the past.

“They’ve been kind to us for many years,” she said.

The child-care cen­ter dir­ect­or said some of the books will be sent home with chil­dren in hopes that their par­ents will read to them. Oth­ers will re­main at the cen­ter.

“You can nev­er have enough books,” she said.

First Book, foun­ded in 1992, is a non­profit or­gan­iz­a­tion based in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

When loc­al board mem­bers walked in­to classrooms on May 25, the Kinder Academy kids sang Happy Birth­day to mark the char­ity’s 19th an­niversary.

Holly Rutkowski, a board mem­ber, ex­plained that First Book has donated about 80 mil­lion books to 25,000 agen­cies over the years. Last year, 28,000 new books were dis­trib­uted in Phil­adelphia.

“Study after study shows that kids who love read­ing are on their way to lit­er­acy, stay in school and make good choices,” Rutkowski said.

The books were placed on shelves or handed dir­ectly to the young­sters. Rawl­ins read Swimmy to the chil­dren, while Bern­ardo chose The Very Hungry Cater­pil­lar and Greene re­cited Skel­et­on Hic­cups and Caps for Sale.

Be­sides provid­ing books, the KIND of­fi­cials handed all-nat­ur­al whole nut and fruit bars to par­ents as they dropped off their chil­dren.

The folks from KIND and First Book were glad to hear that Kinder Academy has raised money for vic­tims of the nat­ur­al dis­asters in Ja­pan and Louisi­ana and to see a tree filled with or­na­ments not­ing the kind acts of the chil­dren.

“It’s a great ex­ample of try­ing to raise kids to show them it’s not all about them, it’s about the whole world,” Rutkowski said.

“We’re em­bra­cing them and re­ward­ing them for that,” Lee said. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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