Andrea J. Ogunwumi, CEO, Economic Opportunity Program, Inc.

The Economic Opportunity Program Inc. of Chemung and Schuyler Counties greatly benefited from the generous donation of more than 800 books presented to the children, parents and community partners of the region. The need to move to the next level of experiential learning and dialogue is evidenced by the challenges faced daily in the lives of our participants and communities served. The books provide a safe platform to begin to discuss and learn new emotional intelligence and social learning approaches.  The books were presented by staff in the classroom, afterschool workshops and integrated into curriculum presented during summer and school year programming.  The children are learning the principles and concepts, for example, of responsibility, kindness, and respect and applying the concepts in their lives and relationships. The discussion most recently facilitated by Pat Standish with children, staff, community partners and parent representatives from Early Head Start and Head Start Policy Council and the Centers for Excellence Afterschool program was exceptional with requests for future books and group discussions for next steps. The students had the opportunity to suggest thematic topics for the next book and look forward to involvement in this ground-breaking approach to experiential learning and discovery.  We are honored to participate and partner on this project.