FedEx Cares: Building Bridges with Books
Note: In 2013, FedEx is launching its ninth annual FedEx Cares Week – a focused celebration of team members’ culture of service, collaboration, and community. Around the world, FedEx team members are giving back through volunteerism, charitable support and collaboration with local organizations and causes.
From building transitional homes with TECHO in Latin America and planting trees in Thailand to rebuilding homes lost from Superstorm Sandy and supporting local food banks, FedEx team members care deeply about the communities where they live and work. With a global theme of “Uncommon Heroes, Common Good.”, FedEx volunteers are generating goodwill in their local communities by making a difference in people’s lives. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, FedEx Cares Week is one of the many ways FedEx is giving back to the community. Since FedEx Cares Week first launched in the U.S. in 2005, it has expanded to more than 60 countries and territories around the globe.
When Principal Bob Moseley walks the halls at Jolly Elementary School, he sees more than bustling students and projects on display; he sees rich opportunity.
His students are making great strides as evidenced by Jolly’s students increasing their reading levels by an impressive nine percent this past school year. Through a program established to track and reward student reading, students collectively read more than 6,000 books and 10 million words.
This alone is a tremendous achievement, but it's the school's student base that makes this even more exceptional. With more than half of Jolly’s 800 students representing 32 native languages (including Burmese, Arabic, Somali, and Vietnamese), faculty and staff are challenged to provide a learning environment that addresses the specific needs of diverse students. Many arrived from other countries after living in refugee camps; some girls were denied the opportunity to attend school. Families, many living below the poverty level, braved the uncertainty of relocating to America. Given the opportunity to fully engage in an education at Jolly Elementary, students strive for excellence in every area of the school.
A network of community organizations work in tandem with the school to provide support for students and families and translators are present at many meetings to facilitate these interactions. This community collaboration is vital to students’ success, and meeting space is limited. When Principal Moseley and Librarian Jacqueline Keeton were approached with an opportunity to revitalize the library in order to engage students and families in new ways, Jolly was all in.
On May 16th, representatives from the DeKalb County School District, The Heart of America Foundation, and FedEx gathered to task a group of students to think big and envision their dream library. Students put crayons to paper and they delivered creative and innovative ideas on how a new READesign Reading Corner stocked with books could be best designed for their library.
"We are so excited to receive the Library Reading Corner makeover,” said Principal Moseley. “Our students have been involved with the project from the beginning and this project serves to impress on our students the importance of reading. New furniture, paint, books for the library, books to take home and the motivational quotes will make our school a special place for readers!"
The new Reading Corner, sponsored by FedEx, will become a center of learning for the broader school community where students, families, and the school are welcome to learn and enjoy the rich diversity of Jolly through reading. Donated materials include books in Somali, Nepali, Burmese, French and Arabic, helping to prepare all students to compete in a global society. The revitalized space will also be a bridge for those students and families recently entering the country and school.
“We at FedEx are very excited to work with Jolly Elementary and Heart of America Foundation on this project,” said FedEx volunteers, Sonia Volz and Sherry Black. “Jolly Elementary with its cultural and geographic diversity and resulting challenges and opportunities is the perfect global school for us to work with. The dedication and leadership shown by Jolly’s staff has been very impressive and we look forward to sharing in the excitement with the students and staff when they see the new Reading Corner.”
As part of The Heart of America’s READesign program, FedEx volunteers will place finishing touches on the reading corner, host storytime in the classrooms, and distribute two books for each student to take home, all as a celebration of the important things happening at Jolly Elementary School. When Principal Moseley walks the halls on Friday, September 13, he'll see opportunity on the pages of glossy new books, on the walls of a revitalized library space, and in comfortable new furniture, ready for his students to enjoy together.