By Phil Corso
These teens loved books so much that they decided to share over 1,500 of them with orphans in the Philippines. Chris Wren and Maggie Cash looked to their former Bayside school to help collect books for “Reading Rocks the World,” a donation campaign they helped start.
“Our goals were really to just help the less fortunate and try to give them the opportunities that we so luckily have,” 17-year-old Wren said. “Our generation really takes all of the privileges we have for granted and we wanted to give back to the community.”
Wren and Cash joined with Liz Gold of Manhasset to form the organization last year, initially setting out to donate children’s books to a poor village in the Philippines. With help from their former school, Bay side’s Sacred Heart School, the students sent over 3,500 books to the village.
“We came up with this idea because it was something that was simple,” Cash, 16, said. “Our families and friends were great contributors, but our old school and Principal Farrell were really key players in this project.”
The students credited much of their success to Sacred Heart Principal Dennis Farrell, who said he was more of a middleman to their project. Farrell said the students used his office as one of the depot centers. The school helped store and collect books until the students could ship them.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Farrell said. “As a book lover, there’s nothing better than sending a book to someone who’s going to love it as well.”
One year later, the project is back with its newest initiative to benefit Santo Nino Home, a non-profit orphanage for abandoned infants and children in Negros, Philippines. Farrell said there’s already a van full of books ready to be shipped, courtesy of the families of the Sacred Heart families.
Though they’ve already graduated from the Bayside school, Wren and Cash said they were still happy to work with their neighbors for an equal cause.
“It’s great to see a community come together to help others,” Cash said. “We were happy to know that although we graduated from Sacred Heart three years ago, they were still willing to help us out.”
Wren said he hoped to see “Reading Rocks the World” continue to help less fortunate communities and expand to other parts of the world.
“I would love to visit the communities we have helped over the years, too,” Wren said.
Wren is a junior at Chaminade High School in Mineola and Cash now attends Sacred Heart Academy of Hempstead as a junior.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.