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Forest Hill School Book Drive Donates 2,000 Books for Kids in Local Shelter

Forest Hill School's fifth annual book drive raises 2,000 children's books for kids at Next Door Solutions.

When third-grade teacher Kathy Schlief started a school-wide children's book drive at Forest Hill School five years ago, she expected the 600 students to donate 600 books.

Instead, the student body rounded up 2,000 books, from old Dr. Seuss classics to popular series. The number has stayed consistent through this year, when the school hosted its fifth annual drive to benefit the local Next Door Solutions shelter, which provides a safe haven for women who have been victims of domestic violence, and their children.

While all of the school’s 600 students participate in the drive, Schlief’s class is in charge of counting all the books in her classroom, and bagging them to be taken to the shelter. At the completion of this year’s drive in February, the books filled three large SUVs.

“The kids completely look forward to it,” said Schlief, pointing out its a challenge for them to figure out where to put the books between a labyrinth of computers, desks, and equipment. “They’ve now seen the drive since they were in kindergarten.”

Next Door Solutions has a library for the books, but also allows children to take books with them when they leave. “It gives them a sense of ownership,” said Schlief, stressing the need to continue donating books. Forest Hill is currently the only school that hosts a drive for Next Door Solutions.

The children also collected everyday items for the women and children at the shelter, such as diapers and personal hygiene products.

“The way we describe the situation [at Next Step] to students,” said Schlief, “is ‘Imagine leaving home in the middle of the night with only the clothes on your back.’”

Linda Covella May 10, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Wow, this is fantastic! Kudos to Kathy Schlief and the kids at Forest Hill School for rounding up all those books and other items for Next Door Solutions. Books are such wonderful gifts for children, and how cool that the shelter even lets the kids keep some of them.
Kathy Schlief May 10, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Thank you for writing about our book drive. We are very proud of the work our school does. We had so much fun, and like the experience of collecting and counting all the books. Mrs. Schlief's 3rd Graders at Forest Hill School
eric andrew May 10, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Kudos to Mrs. Schlief's 3rd graders! You continue to do remarkable work for your class, your school, our district, and our community. Thank you all for being such wonderful examples of providing goodwill to others.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte May 10, 2011 at 06:57 PM
This is a great story, Rachel. And to Mrs, Schlief's class, this is really amazing. Keep it up! Thank you Superintendent Andrew for your comments. They really are being great examples of what we should all strive for. Thank you all for taking the time to comment and let these involved student, teachers and parents (I'm sure) know that their efforts are appreciated!
Rachel Stern May 10, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Thanks, Mayra. It was definitely inspiring to hear about the efforts of Mrs. Shlief's class and the school at large. It's also great to see that books are still valued so much, both by those giving and receiving them.
Poh Tenh May 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM
We are so pround of Forest Hill and the work Mrs. Schlief have done for the school. Also especially thanks to all Room #31 students in counting and bagging the books to the shelter. Good jobs guys! -Poh Tenh

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