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Building Community through Books

Bloomfield teachers Jennifer Neal, Jennifer Coleman, BEA President Susan Sumberg, Lisa Ginsberg Cleveland, Lynne Dumas Krul,  Claudette Kenyon and Jennifer Neal

Bloomfield teachers Jennifer Neal, Jennifer Coleman, BEA President Susan Sumberg, Lisa Ginsberg Cleveland, Lynne Dumas Krul, and Claudette Kenyon.

Members of the Bloomfield Education Association (BEA) have found a great way to build relationships—within their community and their Association—while also promoting literacy thanks to a great idea by teacher Jennifer Coleman.

The second annual BEA Community Book Swap allowed families to come and swap a wide variety of books, from picture books to adult literature. And it gave BEA members a new way to get involved with their union.

“We initially did this event to get more of the Association involved in BEA events,” said Coleman, who came up with the idea after attending a CEA Summer Leadership workshop two years ago. She felt BEA could do more to be involved in the community and decided to organize the book swap.

DSC09710“After seeing how successful the event was, and how excited students and families were last year, we realized it was a great way to get more involved with the community and help promote literacy throughout the district,” Coleman said. “Many families told us how much they loved the event and that they hope it continues.”

Families that didn’t have books to contribute participated by bringing canned goods to swap for a book. All of the canned goods were then donated to the Bloomfield Food Bank.

“This year we had more schools involved and we were able to get more members involved,” Coleman said. “The day of the swap we had community members coming in with bags of books and bags of food to donate to the local food bank.”

Coleman highly recommends this type of gratifying community event to other local Associations. She said that it was a big undertaking the first year, but that teachers found the organization and planning easier the second year.

“We are hoping that each year the Book Swap continues to grow and more people will get involved,” she said.

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