An Interview with Greg Worrell: President of Scholastic Classroom and Community Group: Helping Kids Recover with Reading

Jan 17, 2013 by

Scholastic LogoMichael F. Shaughnessy –

  1. I understand that Scholastic has just donated ONE MILLION BOOKS through Book Grants to help kids, teachers, librarians impacted by Hurricane Sandy. How did this come about?

Scholastic has a long history of responding to disasters by providing resources to help parents, teachers and students deal with trauma. In the days following the storm, we began hearing from teachers, librarians and schools that they had lost whole libraries and classroom collections of books. And that many of them were taking in students displaced because their regular schools were so badly damaged. We knew that for these schools and for students’ experience at school to return to anywhere near a sense of normalcy, it was crucial that they have books and resources so students can read and learn.

  1. Did these schools have to apply for grants? How much paperwork was involved?

Scholastic created a simple book grant application form online for schools to fill out. In the application, schools were asked to submit a brief response explaining the damage they encountered and the level of need at their schools or in their communities. As the applications came in, Scholastic evaluated them and allocated a donation of books to schools based on need and the number of students affected. More than 100 schools are receiving new books through this grant program.

  1. What is this K.I.D.S. program all about?

Kids in Distressed Situations strives to minimize the impact of poverty and tragedy on children across the nation. K.I.D.S. focuses on the well-being of children and supports their needs through partnerships and donations from companies, foundations and individuals. Located in all 50 states K.I.D.S. is able to effectively and efficiently deliver products directly to children when and where they need it. With their help, Scholastic was able to distribute the books to schools through local warehouses already providing assistance to those affected by the storm.

Partnering with K.I.D.S was a crucial part of getting the book into the schools that were affected the most.

  1. Are you going to do any follow up or accountability studies?

Our priority in the wake of this disaster has been to ensure that schools have books to students can continue their learning, and children have access to inspiring stories that can help them build resilience in life.

  1. Do you have any pictures to go along with this?

Yes, we did take photos of NJ and NY schools picking up their books at the warehouse, we can certainly provide you with the photos for you to include with this interview.

 6. Why donate books?

At Scholastic, we believe that ensuring children have access to books and inspiring stories is an important part of responding to any disaster or trauma. We know that reading and stories can help children find comfort and build resilience in the face of difficulty. We know many of these books will go home with students – to families who lost their homes or many of their possessions. At Scholastic, believe strongly in the importance of children growing up in homes filled with books.

7. What have I neglected to ask?

Shipping and distributing one million books is no simple feat. We couldn’t have done it without trusted partners like Kids in Distressed Situations, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, HOPENYC and others who are warehousing the books and helping ship them. This is a great example of public-private partnership helping teachers and schools.

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