Students in Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES’ Compass Program are collecting books for a great cause.
The “bookraiser” is to support Project: Cameron’s Story. The nonprofit was created by the parents of an incredible little boy, Cameron, who lost his life when he was just eight-months-young. During their time with Cameron in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the parents regularly read to him. The goal of Project: Cameron’s Story is to support the bonding of parents with premature babies in the NICU through the use of children’s literature and storytelling.
CO BOCES is one of 121 book collection sites across New York state. Books are then donated throughout 11 hospitals, including Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse.
This is the fourth year that CO BOCES has participated in Project: Cameron’s Story. The school’s “bookraiser” efforts are led by the Compass Program’s High School English teacher, Mrs. Crystal Ponto. Over the past three years, CO BOCES has collected and donated nearly 1,800 books to Project: Cameron’s Story.
“Our goal is to donate 500 books to the project this year,” said Mrs. Ponto. Donations (new books or money to purchase books) will be accepted through Feb. 17. Contact Mrs. Ponto at email@example.com to make a donation.
Mrs. Ponto has invited all Compass Program students to participate in two fundraisers for the project.
“We’ll sell flowers around Valentine’s Day, and also conduct a candy and soda sale to raise money,” said Mrs. Ponto. "All funds collected will be used to purchase books which will be donated.”
According to Project: Cameron’s Story, books must be brand new and handled as little as possible since they’ll be delivered to babies in a sterile environment. Additionally, it’s recommended to donate books with lots of pictures and a long storyline. “The purpose is for the parents of the premature babies to have an opportunity to engage in an experience that involves a 10-15 minutes period of time involving storytelling and bonding with their little one,” says the organization.
“Participating in Project: Cameron’s Story teaches our students empathy,” said Ponto. With 20 years of experiences as an educator at CO BOCES, she believes this project is a great opportunity to learn the lifelong skill of finding beauty in an ugly situation.
For more information about Project: Cameron’s Story, please visit http://projectcameronsstory.org/.