For the past two years, WHSAD has partnered with organizations such as the New York City Police Department and Health for Youths to enhance literacy opportunities in our city. Many students have had the opportunity to collaborate with not only these partners but also peers and younger students in building Little Free Libraries that will provide free book borrowing to community members. Last week, students traveled to P.S. 287 to work with elementary school students to continue the Little Free Library Project. Thank you to Executive Superintendent, Karen Watts; Heather Butts, Executive Director at Health for Youths, McGraw-Hill for providing the books, and The Little Free Library project for helping us bring literacy opportunities to our neighborhoods.
The following are student stories from the day.
On Wednesday, October 10th, I went on a trip to P.S. 287 to build “My Little Free Libraries.” There was a lot of excitement in the air as the kids were enthusiastic and ready to build. It made me happy that the kids were having a good time and were doing hands-on work. At the end, we painted the libraries and let kids put their ideas on the libraries to make them each unique in their own way. Before leaving, I felt accomplished that I was able to work and have fun with kids and make their days a little more special.
-WHSAD Sophomore, Jordan Scotland
Entering the school, I see a welcoming Security Officer and I think to myself, “Maybe this school isn’t that bad”. I help carry some books and a disassembled bookshelf to the library. I noticed that people are kind enough to help open the doors for me. When the kids came in and everything started, I was honestly nervous. I was meeting the new kids and they all seem to like how I am. That’s a good thing! I was able to make friends with a few of them named Eli, Ahmed, and Yameer. They were amazing little kids. We talked about each other and what we liked. The funny part was when i had paint on my hands and I said, “Who wants to paint my hands?”, and they were the ones to say “Ooo Me!!”. I love to work with kids and I learned that working with kids aren’t that hard if only you take the time to understand them. How kids think is very amazing. They are so smart and they know a lot about they see. Their creativity comes to play when you give them things. When working with the kids for building the bookshelves, I noticed they understood how tools work. This overall experience was very fun and I would love to go again.
-WHSAD Senior, Premnauth Ramchan
This is my second year straight being apart of the Little Free Library builds. The experience that I have received from these builds is something that I wouldn’t take back. During these builds we worked with other high schools, elementary, and middle schools and their students. The time spent with those other students is something that I will always cherish.
Some of the equipment used to build these libraries was new to some of these students, and to be given the opportunity to go educate them about how these tools are used and their purposes is something I personally enjoy. Knowing that I am informing and educating someone about something they have never known is truly special. I have noticed that once learning how to use the tools the participants became eager to handle the tools. These builds help build bonds between communities and people because building a library takes a group effort.
-WHSAD Senior, Albert Rodriguez
While going to P.S. 287 Ms. Spaziani met up with Mr. Bruno and me. We went inside to meet a group of students; I paired up with a WHSAD senior. It was my first time going, so he was my mentor for that day. We were introduced to middle school and high school students, most of whom were shy at first, but we helped them become more extroverted. I was being mentored for the next time I go so I could teach another new student. My group was mixed, and we used the glue to hold up the walls and put in the bottom wood. After gluing, the kids were scared to use the drill. Most didn’t even know how to use the drill, but they caught on quick. We finished drilling the walls and bottom and then we put in the center shelf and the back. After that, the kids used the hammer to put the nails on the frame to stand up and reinforce the walls. Overall, I enjoyed my time there and next time I go I can mentor a new student.
-WHSAD Junior, Justin Covington-Fox
Doing these Little Free Library projects has been so much fun for me. I got to see how little kids watched us work together as a team and show them what it is like to build and craft simple wood into a “Little Library.” It helps the kids with their listening skills, ability to work together, and read or follow instructions. When they painted, they had good planning skills for what they wanted to paint. What I learned from the experience was that everything must be done at a slow pace, a pace which everyone is satisfied with. Another thing I learned is how we always read the manual so we know and not just assume what we are doing is right. The things that the kids did was hammer, drill, and glued wood together. It was very exciting because I got to see an old version of myself when I was little. His name was David. He looked like a very good kid. He read the directions, and he knew what to do. They showed me an old experience what it was like to be young again. They were so full of life, they had a lot of fun, and they talked about things that I had in common when I was a little kid.
When we built these projects we had so many conversations about the things they did. This means that when working together you can make new friends, and this can make your chemistry even greater. You can work together so well that it acts like you and others have the same mindset. This can be for any job or career that includes working in a group together. So we teach them a lot of skills while working on these library projects. As I said, we worked on reading and listening skills, build up chemistry with one another, and how to use certain tools. Even I built up certain skills while I was there building and painting with them. I can’t wait to this again. I can’t wait to help the next group kids teach them how to build these libraries and help them work together again.
Building these libraries is very fun for me because for me personally I like to build things. I’ve been doing it for a long time. I did it since I was a little kid, and I advanced throughout life facing harder challenges, and I hope these kids will do this in their futures. This makes me know that me being part of WHSAD I can help and inspire other children to become interested in building cause that’s what WHSAD made me into. They made me a better architect than before, and now I am happy that they chose me to help build these libraries with these kids and to give them the experience of what it’s like to become an architect.
WHSAD Sophomore, Reece Smith