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Richmond’s Making Waves Academy and partners provide thousands of free books

RICHMOND — Something special happened today in the yellow building tucked amid commercial space in the city’s Hilltop District.

While it’s true that special things happen every day at Making Waves Academy, a public charter school serving 600 middle and high school students, today’s events culminating in Literacy Night were on a different level.

The acclaimed charter school hosted a community assembly, book fair and evening events with local dignitaries to launch a new partnership with the My Very Own Library (MVOL) initiative and Scholastic books, who donated more than $30,000 in books to the student body.

“This is our first partnership outside of New Jersey, and we are happy to help build on the excitement and energy around literacy here,” said Shannon Boehmer, a spokeswoman for New Jersey After 3, a nonprofit created in 2004 to expand learning time through high-quality, cost-effective afterschool programs across urban, suburban and rural communities. 

More than 2,400 books were on display Wednesday, from popular titles like “Hunger Games” to classics like “To Kill a Mockingbird.” 

After a morning ”Kick-Off” ceremony, students entered the MVOL book fair to select three new books each. Students also got meet and get their books signed by award winning Children’s Author – Emma Clayton, who chatted with the students about being an author.

Making Waves was founded in 1989 by John Scully, a computer software executive, and the late Rev. Eugene Farlough, pastor of Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church. That year, the program adopted 46 fifth-graders from two elementary schools in Richmond and proceeded to mentor them for eight years. In 1997, Making Waveswatched its first group graduate from high school. In 2001, the program expanded to schools in San Francisco.

Waves mentors its students, called Wave-Makers, by building upon skills learned in its middle school, high school, and college programs. All students are exposed to benefits such as nutrition education, cultural activities and health care assistance. To date, the program serves more than 1,000 in the Bay Area.

In an adiminstration room at the school, dozens of student-written letters were on display, addressed to Dimarea Young, a 19-year-old who was shot and killed in central Richmond earlier this month.

Later in the evening, MakingWavesAcademy hosted a Family Literacy Event, which included workshops and reading activities for parents and students.

Making Waves was founded in 1989 by John Scully, a computer software executive, and the late Rev. Eugene Farlough, pastor of Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church. That year, the program adopted 46 fifth-graders from two elementary schools in Richmond and proceeded to mentor them for eight years. In 1997, Making Waveswatched its first group graduate from high school. In 2001, the program expanded to schools in San Francisco.

The Contra Costa County Board of Education in 2007 approved Making Waves Education Program’s petition to open a school in Richmond’s Hilltop neighborhood.

Waves mentors its students, called Wave-Makers, by building on skills learned in its middle school, high school, and college programs. All students receive nutrition education, cultural activities and health care assistance. The principal, called “Head of School” in Making Waves parlance, is Irene St. Roseman.

The event was for 5th through 10th graders in the Making Waves Middle School. Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Schools Superintendent Bruce Harter also attended.

 

More about the partners:

My Very Own Library (MVOL), proudly supported by the Family & Friends of the late, Anne Feeley (MVOL Originator), in partnership with NJ After 3, and Scholastic Book Fairs, is a literacy initiative aimed at increasing book ownership for thousands of students in Newark, NJ for the past two years. MVOL is proud to make its way across the country –on Wednesday, April 24, so that 600 students at Making Waves Academy in Richmond, California, will walk away with 4 FREE NEW BOOKS to take home to help build their own home libraries!