GBGM Grant Helps New Brunswick Students to “Write, Read, Achieve Power”

July 1, 2019 | | GNJ News, The Relay

More than 500 students throughout the New Brunswick school system received a special opportunity to develop and demonstrate their writing and design skills thanks to a grant to promote literacy from the General Board of Global Ministries, or GBGM, to the United Methodist Church at New Brunswick.

“Over a three-year period, the literacy project hopes that the reading skills of students will improve by at least two levels,” says Susan Zahorbenski, a diaconal minister and one of the two coordinators of “Write, Read, Achieve Power: The Literacy Project.”

A total of 470 students from first grade through high school entered the “Voices of New Brunswick” writing contest and 32 were selected as winners. They were honored at an awards ceremony at the church on May 18 attended by parents, siblings, teachers and principals. Nashaly Espinal’s winning essay discussed how New Brunswick is a tight-knit community; she especially enjoys activities like Neighborhood Night Out, Rutgers Day and the city’s tree-lighting ceremony.

Forty-nine New Brunswick High School students entered an additional contest to design a logo reflecting the literacy project’s theme, “Write, Read, Achieve Power.” A winner, runner-up and honorable mention were recognized at the ceremony. The winning logo will be used on stationery, banners, and T-shirts.

The $9,750 grant from GBGM is also funding other activities in New Brunswick including elementary school tutoring, reading to pre-school toddlers, and workshops for tutors from the local church and from Rutgers. “The literacy grant and the activities it funds are vitally important to New Brunswick since many of its families are poor and do not speak English at home,” explains Karen Cox, a church lay leader and the other project coordinator for “Write, Read, Achieve Power.”

A workshop to help parents improve their children’s reading skills is scheduled. As with the awards ceremony, remarks will be presented in both English and Spanish.
To learn more about the Literacy Project, contact umcliteracy@gmail.com