James P. Butler and Sgt. Jose F. Carrasco elementary schools received $20,000 from the Socorro American Federation of Teachers for books for students at all grade levels.
The generous donation is part of Socorro AFT’s “Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader” book program, which focuses on improving literacy and love for reading by giving students more access to books.
“Reading is extremely important because it opens the pathway to everything in our world, whether it is through technology or on the job or careers,” said fifth-grade teacher Magdalena Marquez. “Everything that you do involves being able to read and comprehend what you are reading.”
The donation will allow both students and teachers to gain new, high-quality, contemporary books.
“College and career readiness are part of our district’s focus, which, coupled with this awesome book donation here today, gives our children a high success possibility,” said Rosa Chavez-Avedician, principal of Butler Elementary School principal.
Socorro AFT partners with First Book, a non-profit that provides new books and educational resources to schools and programs. First Book gave the $20,000 to Socorro AFT, the only organization in the El Paso region to earn the award, to provide books to students in the area.
“Reading is important because it helps us in the future and the real world, and to get more books is going to encourage us to read more,” said fifth-grader Alexander Robles.
Butler Elementary School parent Maribel Latin and her children were among those who benefited from the book donation. Latin and her children were at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3, the day of the shooting at the store.
The donation from Socorro AFT was presented in their honor and to all the victims of the shooting. Latin said she hopes others will look to reading as a way of coping with the tragedy and that it will bring healing to move forward as a community.
“Reading is a gateway, an opening for them to heal, and a lot of time at school is an outlet, like therapy,” Latin said. “Here at school they get to read a couple of books and for a moment their imagination takes them to another place where they don’t have to think about what happened.”
The check was presented Oct. 18 at a special ceremony at James P. Butler Elementary.