SARASOTA, FL - When teachers and administrators returned to St. Martha Catholic School in preparation for the new school year, they were confronted with an unpleasant surprise. Over the summer, St. Martha's library and its contents suffered moisture intrusion resulting in a total loss. Of the 14,000 books, only 150 were salvageable, and the entire room had to be specially cleaned.
While the library has been fully repaired and the damaged furniture replaced, the school is now faced with restocking its inventory of books. A campaign was launched, requesting that school families and supporters donate books and/or money to assist in the replenishment. As these efforts began, parent Chandra Riccio – whose daughter Alyssa is in the eighth grade at St. Martha – connected school officials with representatives from Goodwill Manasota. Books are regularly donated to Goodwill for sale in its retail and bookstores.
In October, Chandra and Alyssa Riccio, school librarian and media specialist Leslie Lambert, and the former chair of the library, Lori Sudbury, visited Goodwill's Logistics Center and selected approximately 150 fiction and non-fiction books that they felt would be appropriate for the school's pre-K through eighth-grade students. This is just the first visit; the school has been invited to return to select additional books in the future.
"We are so grateful that Goodwill has allowed us the opportunity to partner with them and to use their resources to replenish such a vital curricula area in our school," said Principal Siobhan Young of St. Martha Catholic School.
This partnership aligns with Goodwill's efforts to bring a love of reading to students at schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Through Goodwill's Good Readers program, volunteers bring books to read with and give to area students; the remainder is donated to their school library. Recently, Goodwill has started to create mobile libraries to help schools that are in particular need of books, especially Title 1 schools.
“Strong literacy skills are closely linked to the probability of having a good job and decent earnings. Literacy is the most powerful weapon in the ongoing battle between success and failure,” said Veronica Brandon Miller, vice president of Goodwill Manasota. “We are pleased to help St. Martha as it works to replenish its library and ensure students have the resources they need to succeed."
For more about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721.
PHOTO ID: (From l-r) Goodwill Manasota team members Lou Ann Linn and Ron McLauren with St. Martha librarian Leslie Lambert and eighth-grader Alyssa Riccio
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.
About St. Martha Catholic School
Serving children in grades Pre-K through eighth grade, the mission of St. Martha Catholic School is to provide each student with diverse opportunities which develop strength in faith, excellence in knowledge, and character in service. Located at Bishop Nevins Academy, 4380 Fruitville Road, in Sarasota, St. Martha Catholic School currently serves approximately 445 students and strives to provide a curriculum that gives the opportunity for growth in the student’s relationship with Jesus, while building competence in academic disciplines, basic skills, aesthetic appreciation and physical development. More information about St. Martha Catholic School, including how to schedule a tour, is available by calling St. Martha Catholic School at 941-953-4181 or by visiting www.stmarthaschool.net.