|Kids from Casita Maria celebrate new library. (Photo courtesy of Casita Maria)|
Before Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan leaves for Rome to be made a Cardinal, he will bless the new library at the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, a 78 year old cultural and education center located in the South Bronx, one of the poorest Congressional Districts in the United States. The library is intended to combat the drop in pupil reading scores in New York City schools. The Archbishop will arrive at the new Claire Sullivan O’Keeffe and Elizabeth Sullivan Ridder Library at approximately 3:15pm on February 8, 2012.
The new library is the result of a true collaboration to improve the reading of young New Yorkers at educational risk. Among the collaborators are The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund & NYC Service Volunteer Project, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and the Urban Assembly Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists.
Casita Maria’s volunteers collected nearly 2,700 books, quintupling its goal. Catholic Charities donated 500 more books through its annual Christmas toy drive. Other volunteer efforts yielded another 2,200 books. Casita received books from SERVE!, a student volunteer group from New York University, Boyds Mills Press, Granta Publications, Simon and Schuster and members of Casita’s community. Those 2,700 books needed shelves to become a library. Catholic Charities stepped in to fund the conversion of a conference room into a library with wall-to-wall pine shelves.
The new library was named in honor of Claire Sullivan O’Keeffe and Elizabeth Sullivan Ridder, who, 78 years ago, founded Casita Maria to give the children of recently arrived Hispanic families the educational support needed to thrive in their new homeland. Today, Casita Maria’s mission is to empower youth and their families by creating a culture of learning through high quality social, cultural, and educational opportunities. Besides its brand new, book-filled library, Casita Maria offers programs focused on arts and education, and they include a wide range of in-school and after-school programs, as well as summer camps and internships. For more information about Casita Maria, please visit www.casitamaria.org.
source: Casita Maria