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Book drive seeks to increase literacy among kids in Flushing

By Madina Toure

The Queens Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has kicked off a book drive collection at the Latimer Gardens Cornerstone Community Center in Flushing. The books collected will be given to children living in the New York City Housing Authority’s developments.

In an effort to promote literacy, the “Imagine and Explore the World Through Reading” book drive, which started Aug. 1, will accept donations of new or gently used books for children in grades kindergarten through 12 at the center, located at 34-30 137th St.

People can drop off the books during the center’s hours. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and during the weekend from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The drive will conclude Aug. 15. The donated books will be given to youth at the Family Day events of Bland Houses at 40-21 College Point Blvd., Latimer Gardens at 34-25 Linden Place and Pomonok Houses at 67-10 Parsons Blvd. Each development will receive 100 books.

The Bland Houses event will take place Aug. 15 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Latimer Gardens, Aug. 22 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Pomonok Houses, Aug. 30 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“We’ve got a generation of kids who may not really learn to read because they’ve become so digitized and electronic, yet reading is fundamental to communication,” Moira Jack, the chapter’s president, said. “If they cannot read effectively … they’re not going to be able to compete economically.”

Members of the Delta Sigma Theta chapter, along with U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and two people from the center were present at the book drive’s launch.

Leticia Deans, a chapter member, and Dorette Lesesne, co-chairwoman of the social action committee, donated around 80 books. Their goal is to have 300 books to distribute.

Chartered in June 1951, the Jamaica-based Queens Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority focuses primarily on public service.

Some of the programs that the chapter sponsors in the borough include scholarship awards; Signature, an annual tutorial program; Teen Lift, annual tours of historically black colleges and universities; Project Cherish, the restoration of African American inventor Lewis Latimer’s house; and the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy, a national program for girls ages 11 to 14 that seeks to spark their interest in math, science, technology and carers in which minority representation is low.

Individuals can also order books from an Amazon Wishlist the organization set up and have them shipped directly to the center. Individuals must search “Delta Sigma Theta-Queens Alumnae” at www.amazon.com/gp/registry/search.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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