In the holiday spirit, Valley Green Bank is holding its 5th annual local book drive from Nov. 23 through Dec. 31, 2012.

The Mastery Charter elementary schools – Mann Elementary, Harrity Elementary, Smedley Elementary, Hardy Williams Academy Mastery Charter School, Mastery Charter Clymer Campus and Grover Cleveland Elementary – will be the recipients of this year’s collection.

The book drive encourages families to donate new or gently used children’s books, preschool through 8th grade. The collected books will be distributed to the six elementary schools.

Local businesses are also joining in this effort. Mt Airy’s Big Blue Marble Bookstore is offering a 10 percent discount on all books purchased and contributed to this book drive. Weavers Way Co-Op will collect books, as well, at both of their locations.

Jay Goldstein, Valley Green Bank’s President and CEO, is pleased to sponsor the initiative.

“There is no better way to support our children than to encourage them to be avid, accomplished readers,” he said. “And, as we all know, reading is a key to success in pursuing a lifetime of learning.”

Mastery Charter Schools’ CEO Scott Gordon is “thrilled” the Mastery elementary schools were chosen again for this year’s drive.

“Our six elementary schools serve 4,000 students who were formerly enrolled in some of the lowest-performing schools in the city,” he said. “Many are 3-4 grade levels below where they should be in reading – so getting them to read every single day is huge. We are on track to hit our goal for every student to be at or above grade level within three years with Mastery.

“We will reach this goal by immersing our youngest students in reading now so they can go on to pursue their dreams and compete in the global economy when they grow up. Every new book donated will be in the hands of amazing children who are hungry to learn. It’s really awesome and we are just thrilled Valley Green Bank chose us for this honor.”

Shayna Wolfson, Apprentice School Leader for Instruction at the Harrity Campus echoed the positive reactions of all the participating teachers.

“Last year’s book drive enabled all 850 Harrity students to go home with a free book,” she said. “It was wonderful to see all of our students happy and excited to read their new book. Reading is our number one goal and the book drive enabled us to get a book in every child’s hands.”

Mastery Charter Schools is a nationally recognized leader in school turnarounds. It currently operates 12 schools in Philadelphia serving 8,000 students in grades K through 12.

Bins to collect the books will be in Valley Green Bank’s locations at 7226 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy and 23 W. Highland Ave. in Chestnut Hill. Other bins will be located at Big Blue Marble Bookstore at 551 Carpenter Lane and at both Weavers Way Co-Ops – in Mt Airy at 559 Carpenter Lane and in Chestnut Hill at 8424 Germantown Ave.

For more information about this Book Drive, please contact Valley Green Bank at 215-242-7540.

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