Alexandra (Alex) Buga has volunteered over the past two years organizing and managing a tremendous book drive project. As a result more than 5,000 books have been donated to the Paterson Family Center. With these books the center established a pre-school lending library that has served several hundred families. In addition, the center is able to encourage reading as a family activity by giving books to children who do not have books at home.
The Paterson Family Center is part of the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC), a nonprofit social service agency based in Paterson (NJ). NJCDC also operates housing for the developmentally disabled and youth aging out of foster care, a high school, a Youthbuild program and an extensive Americorps program.
After learning that the new center was in need of books, Alex came up with the idea of giving away her old preschool books. She visited the center and met the preschoolers. After seeing the children’s reactions to the gifts, and learning that one national study stated that 60% of low income families had no books at home for their pre-schoolers, she decided to do more. She approached her neighbors and friends, and then submitted letters to local schools, churches and nonprofit organizations in the area asking for books. The project has collected and distributed over 5,000 books thus far.
Alex credits a supportive family, friends in Chatham, and the close-knit environment at her high school, Villa Walsh Academy in Morristown, with instilling her with a strong desire to make a difference. Alex intends to continue her work in service to others as she heads off to college next year.