Meet 10th grade Shaker High School student, Caroline Kremer; “North Colonie Kids Care” September 2015 feature.
This summer, 60 students in grades 9-12, representative from seven Capital Region school districts, attended a Teen Summer Symposium on human rights. One of the symposium’s goals was to help students develop tools to address a human rights issue important to them, using social media and websites. For three days, students brainstormed on how to make a difference in their schools and larger community.
10th grade Shaker High School student, Caroline Kremer, was one of them. During the second day of the symposium, she learned that approximately 20 percent of North Colonie students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program, and 10 percent of students are at or below the federal poverty level.
“I was absolutely shocked,” said Kremer. “This means that more than 500 children struggle to buy basic things such as food and clothing. After they buy the necessities, they often do not have enough money to buy other things, and books become a luxury.”
That’s when Kremer’s idea was born. She decided to create “The Book Shelf”, a fundraiser and collection to provide less fortunate children in the North Colonie School District with books. Kremer’s mission is for every child in the district to have a book shelf of their own, no matter what their financial situation is.
“Books are so important in child development,” she said. “Daily reading helps to not only increase children’s reading level, but also their vocabulary, their concentration, and generally helps them to do better in school. With these skills, children can go on to be more successful throughout their career.”
This summer, Kremer worked with North Colonie’s supervisor of Career and Technical Education, Eric Phillips, to arrange for a fall Technology class to build the actual bookshelves, with the goal of presenting books and shelves to families in need this holiday season.
Kremer is currently accepting cash or book donations for elementary age students, and has built a website to spread the word.
“Books are such a small thing that can really impact a child’s life,” said Kremer. “It was just an idea I thought of at the symposium, and I’m so excited for it to start.”