Literacy Lab donates classroom library to Vargas Elementary kindergartners

Ms. Allison Enyart’s kindergarten class at Vargas Elementary School eagerly gathered in a circle on the carpet in front of their brand new classroom library and listened intently to a special guest read “Polar bear, polar bear what do you hear?”

Literacy Lab, an Oakland-based nonprofit, in partnership with the Beth Levitas Longwell Foundation, donated a classroom library set of 30 hardcover books during a special dedication ceremony on April 27.

Beth Longwell Foundation board member Carol Toppel read the popular children’s book just prior to unveiling the books to the class.

Ellen Levitas, Beth Levitas Longwell’s mother and foundation president, had the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

“It’s a heartwarming and revisiting experience because I taught and my daughter taught,” Levitas said. “It’s all about giving it right back.”

The late Beth Levitas Longwell was a former teacher at both Vargas and San Miguel Elementary schools in Sunnyvale. She taught at Vargas from 1991 to 1999 and San Miguel from 2001 to 2005. She died in August 2007 from lung cancer at the age of 39.

The foundation was formed in her memory to support childhood education, non-smoking lung cancer research, and grief support for children who have lost a parent.

After the donation ceremony, students selected books for independent reading time.

Before she began reading her book, one kindergartener declared that reading is her favorite subject.

“I hope you continue to read all your life,” Bring Me A Book founder Judy Koch said to the girl.

The Bring Me A Book Foundation has had a long term relationship with the Beth Longwell Foundation to provide books to schools in SSD. Literacy Lab is the direct service provider for BMAB programs in the Bay Area.

For more information about either organization, visit http://litlab.org/ or http://bethlongwellfoundation.org/index.php.

Contributor Alia Wilson.

Woman reads book to children in a kindergarten classroom.
Carol Toppel, Beth Longwell Foundation board member, reads one of 30 donated books to a Vargas Elementary kindergarten class.
Ellen Levitas, Beth Levitas Longwell's mother, cuts the ribbon during a dedication ceremony, where 30 books were donated to a Vargas kindergarten class.
Ellen Levitas, Beth Levitas Longwell’s mother, cuts the ribbon during a dedication ceremony, where 30 books were donated to a Vargas kindergarten class.

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