FITCHBURG, Mass. – The fifth grade class at J.R. Briggs Elementary School in Ashburnham Mass. has proved that reading really is fundamental by organizing their own book drive to benefit many programs within North Central Massachusetts. Wanting to encourage greater student involvement within their community, Workers Credit Union and fifth grade teacher Kelli Robichaud proposed the “Briggs Students for Books” drive. The 101 fifth grade students jumped at the chance to reach out to the larger community and began designing and advertising for the much needed book donations via posters, weekly letters, monthly school newsletters, and even spread the word during morning school announcements. Students also decorated colorful drop-off boxes to constantly remind others to donate their new and used chapter, picture and informational books. “This is truly a collaborative effort and a wonderful learning experience for all involved,” said Workers CU Senior Vice President of Marketing Charles Troccia. “Based on the overwhelming success that we have seen with the Briggs Program, it is likely that we will expand it to other schools within North Central Massachusetts in the near future.” Two agencies have agreed to participate as the distributor of the books collected – The Multi-Service Center of Leominster and Montachusett Opportunity Council of Fitchburg. The Multi-Service Center will distribute its share of the books to the Family Resource Center, which sponsors a parent/child drop-in program and the Generations LINKED program, which pairs elementary school students with residents at nursing homes and provides a story time at nursing homes and assisted living residences. MOC of Fitchburg books will be delivered to numerous programs throughout North Central Massachusetts including the Fitchburg/ Leominister CAC at the Cyber Space Caf; the Spanish American Center; Green Acres Neighborhood Center; and WIC Nutrition program to name just a few. Over 2,500 books were collected by the fifth grade class. “It is wonderful that the fifth graders now know and understand that while they live in a relatively small town they are still part of a larger community,” said Robichaud. “It’s quite a legacy they are leaving – a legacy of literacy.” [email protected]

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