PLATTSBURGH - Through her position as coordinator of the CV-Tec Family Welcome Center, Michele Armani is working with schools within the Plattsburgh City School District to learn how the center can best assist teachers in their jobs of teaching literacy.
"We work closely with the schools within our literacy zone because we're funded to serve any literacy needs withing the 12901 and 12903 zip codes," explained Armani. "We focus on four core areas: family literacy, health literacy, education and training, and financial literacy."
And, the Family Welcome Center has found a way to do that in the summer months, even when school isn't in session. The center is hosting a school supply drive for elementary school-aged children looking for the basic tools of the early literacy and childhood development trade.
"We're looking for crayons, pencils, paper, notebooks ... stress balls, markers, art smocks - anything that elementary school children could use," said Armani.
The idea for the drive came through a collaboration between the Family Welcome Center and Bailey Avenue Elementary School, said Armani.
"They found many students did not come to school with all the necessary supplies, especially families with more than one child because it can get very expensive," she said.
Donations are being collected in wooden bins built by the North Country Regional Workforce Investment Board's Solid Foundations program, which teaches students building trades skills. Bins are located at the Plattsburgh YMCA on Brinkerhoff Street and St. John's Catholic Church on Broad Street, with the hope of adding bins elsewhere in the community, said Armani.
"If anybody wants their name attached, we'd love to have them," said Armani, encouraging other establishments interested in hosting bins to contact her. "We'll do the pick up; you don't have to do anything."
The school supply drive will continue through the end of the month, at which time donations will be evenly distributed throughout the Plattsburgh City School District, including Seton Academy and Lakeshore Christian School.
"We want to serve all of those schools if there's a need," said Armani. "We want schools to know they have a lot of support in their community and we want children to have a good start."
The school supplies drive isn't the only way the Family Welcome Center is reaching out to the community, however. On Friday, Aug. 27, the center will host "Community Cares Day" at the Plattsburgh City School District Offices, 49 Broad St. The event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., will welcome families to learn more about how the center is promoting literacy with partnering organizations like Fidelis, UFirst, Kidsville News!, Cornell Co-operative Extension, Mountain Lake PBS, and the Clinton County Health Department.
Some school supplies will also be handed out there as well as school clothing that was also collected from a recent donation drive.
For more information about Community Cares Day, making a donation to the school supply drive or hosting a donation bin, contact Armani at 561-0430, ext. 3085.