Books Promoting Diversity and Tolerance To Be Highlighted at Free Library Kiosks
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
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Two Scarsdale brothers, Asher and Zane Kohn, have received a $1,000 Stevens Initiative grant to promote tolerance by highlighting books written by or about people from diverse backgrounds. In collaboration with the Scarsdale Public Library (SPL) they are launching Diverse Books Teach Tolerance, a community service project. Books will be purchased and stocked in the free library kiosks and selections will highlight a different theme each month.
The project will launch in February, recommending readings on African American experiences and by African American authors in observance of Black History Month. Find these books at the three kiosks located at Hyatt Field playground, Chase Park, and Crossway Park across from tennis courts. There is normally a fourth kiosk at the Brite Avenue tennis courts, but that one is currently under repair and a fifth kiosk will be installed at the Scarsdale Library when the weather permits.
The program was born out of Asher Kohn’s experience through the virtual exchange program, Experiment Digital, when he got to know counterparts across the US, Middle East, and North Africa and received leadership training to create and implement service projects in local communities. He recruited his brother, Zane Kohn, and came up with the idea for the Diverse Books Teach Tolerance project. They applied to the Stevens Initiative for a grant to fund their idea and were one of fifteen selected and awarded a grant out of 3,000 teens.
Through launching their project, the teens hope to promote diverse perspectives and therefore tolerance in Scarsdale. Zane Kohn explained: “We hope that by bringing diverse books to Scarsdale through the library kiosks, we will encourage people to read these books, start conversations, and bring about positive changes.”
On the program’s launch, Scarsdale Public Library Executive Director, Elizabeth Bermel said, “I was delighted and inspired when the Kohns approached the Library with their idea and thrilled when they won the grant. This program will make a great positive impact locally.”
Recently appointed Teen Librarian, Jennifer Brinley, will work with the Kohns to implement the project. “It is important for the Library to encourage the ambitions and growth of Scarsdale’s teens, especially when it comes to supporting community work,” said Brinley. She further added, “I am happy and proud that Diverse Books Teach Tolerance will be one of the first initiatives I get to support as the new Teen Librarian. I look forward to offering programs and reading materials that inspire an inclusive worldview in the minds and behaviors of Scarsdale’s teens.”
To start, they hope to add new books monthly and have recommended reads for all levels of readers from children to teens to adults. These books will be identifiable in library kiosks by their specialty stickers and bookmarks.
The kiosks function as “take a book, leave a book,” although many people just take or just leave books. Readers are asked to return these specially marked books back to the kiosks when they are finished reading them so they will remain circulating and others in the community can enjoy them as well.
Scarsdale Resident Asks State Officials to Represent Children
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 1414
This letter was sent to County Executive George Latimer, State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and NYC Health Commissioner Howard Zucker from Scarsdale resident Colby Mulvey.
I am a parent of two children in the Scarsdale School District, one in 6th grade and another in 3rd grade.
I write to you today to plead with you to please use your office and your voice to put pressure on our Superintendent and our Board of Education to open the schools full time for our students, who have suffered enough.
After listening in on the Rotary Club session with County Executive George Latimer, who was kind enough to take questions and listen to concerned parents, my major take-away is there is no one in a position of power who has spoken for our children. Our children, our most vulnerable and precious citizens. They have no union or board seat, and it has become clear that most people in the local and state governmental offices find it much too easy to point to someone else and say, “It’s them that you need to help you. My hands are tied, I can’t make those rules.”
And that may very well be true. Maybe you can’t force Governor Cuomo to amend the guidelines that say children and staff must maintain 6 feet of distance in the schools, which is what our district is holding up as the main barrier to getting our children back in school where they belong. Maybe you have no official authority to tell our Superintendent that he should have spent more time and energy sourcing and procuring the barriers needed to get so many more of our children back in the classroom. You may not be the one who can change the rules and force change, but you hold a position of power, your words have power, your influence has power, so for Godsakes... use that power to help these kids. They need to be in school, full time, as soon as possible.
I won’t link you to every article I’ve read in the last two weeks reporting that officials at the CDC and most studies have come to believe that schools can reopen safely. I won’t make you suffer through the heartbreaking links to articles explaining the horror in Las Vegas, where 18 children have taken their own lives. I’m sure you’ve seen and read many of the same stories that I have. I simply ask that you read the studies and the reports that have shown, over and over again, schools are not a major source of viral spread. School is a safer place to be than almost anywhere else, for both students and staff. . Please think about these scientific facts long and hard, and then speak up and speak out. Let our intractable and stubborn school administrators hear your voice, loud and clear, on the side of the children. Let the many teachers who want to be back in the classroom doing what they love, know you support them.
We are just parents out here, fighting for our children. I’m not an expert on who makes the rules in government. That’s why we hired you. So please, use your knowledge and the power of your office to make an actual difference and take an actual stand for the people in your community who need it the most right this moment, the children.
Scarsdale Donates Over 10,000 Baked Gifts, Books and Toys to Those in Need.
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
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This letter was written by Sarah Bell, President of the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents:
Thank you to everyone who volunteered for SNAP for HOPE. The program was an incredible success!
We had over 151 volunteer sign-ups which consisted of over 200 Scarsdale residents. Our volunteers included Edgewood Girl Scout Troop #2688, several families working together, all of the residents of 1 entire Scarsdale street, 2 members of the Scarsdale Board of Education, 3 baking and/or cooking businesses, Operation Bookshelf of the Scarsdale Woman’s Club and several volunteers who baked for multiple consecutive weeks.
Over the past 6 weeks, we delivered the following to HOPE (numbers are close approximations)
-9,765 individually wrapped baked items
-3,570 used books
-Over 200 new toys
The Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents thank each and every volunteer for their hard work and participation in this truly meaningful program and wish everyone a healthy and safe 2021.
Sarah Bell, SNAP President
“You can't go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending." -C.S. Lewis
Reflections From Quarantined Students
- Written by Sydney Piccoli
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Before the COVID pandemic, those who had unexcused school absences were branded “truants.” This year school officials found themselves ordering students to stay home. Following regulations from the NYS Department of Health, school administrators had to manage a complex series of quarantines, for hundreds of students, after they were in close proximity to classmates, teachers and school staff who tested positive for the virus.
What was the experience like for Scarsdale High School students who were stuck at home for fourteen days? Here is what we learned from speaking to students who found themselves marooned in their bedrooms.
Some students became reflective, saying that the quarantine caused them to slow down, think and explore new passions. But others found it a challenging test of their own strength. Despite some consistent trends, quarantine has been a unique experience for each resident.
One downside of quarantine is that it is hard to be active. Students who are accustomed to going to gym class, sports practices and navigating long hallways had to work to incorporate exercise into their lives. “My lifestyle includes much less exercise than before. I've had to force myself to walk around or do a home workout, and even then I realize that my fitness level has gone down by a lot,” reflected Lydia Jin ’22. As many do not feel comfortable going to gyms and it’s too cold to exercise outside, they found it tough to stay in shape and had to be creative. “I’ve tried to pick up new hobbies like biking to exercise. Because I have an indoor bike, I can still find exercises to do at home,” commented Ethan Hersh’22.
Kids also had to watch what they ate. “To compensate for less exercise, I've started eating more mindfully so it's somewhat balanced,” added Jin ’22. Others appreciate that quarantine has allowed them time to prepare healthy meals. “I also find myself making way more homemade food instead of going out to eat,” added Madison Lee ’22.
Quarantine prevented students from socializing with friends and extended family. “A pro of quarantine is that I can be with my family more, but I cannot see my grandparents, cousins, and friends as often,” mentioned Hersh ’22. At the same, however, this allowed more time for self-improvement and discovering new passions. “When coronavirus began spreading, I was halfway through my sophomore year, so there was not much going on in school. That meant I could spend more time on hobbies such as creating music. I also tried new things like baking and painting,” reflected Jin ’22.
The most difficult situations arose when a family member had to quarantine from others within the household to avoid exposing them. After a student tested positive for the virus during a PSAT exam, many Scarsdale students had to quarantine away from their families while remaining in the same house. “Since [my quarantine] was in the beginning of the year, I definitely took advantage of the fact that the weather was still nice and I sat outside wearing a mask with my family for meals. We [also] facetimed from separate rooms,” added commented Ava Londa ’22.
Accompanying all the downsides of quarantine, there has been some distinct benefits. For example, quarantine has allowed individuals to reflect on their lives and prioritize their well-being. “Before quarantine, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. Then once quarantine started, it gave me time to reconsider how I was treating myself and I focused on self-care, exercising daily, eating healthier,” mentioned Latzman ’22. “By utilizing social media and my trusty phone... I have made more solid friendships [as] I only interact with people I actually want to, instead of with people I pass by at school who...I do not necessarily know,” added Jin ’22.
Within the jumble of benefits and drawbacks that quarantine posed, it certainly taught us all several lessons. “What I took away from all this is that you really have to appreciate everything in life. Now I do not think twice about going to school five days a week or walking with friends to the Village after school. Quarantine showed me that I will never again overlook the smaller things that brightened my day,” concluded Latzman ’22.
This article was written by SHS Junior Sydney Piccoli, who was recently named Editor-in-Chief of the SHS Magazine.
Scarsdale's Best Snowmen
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
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The first snowstorm of the winter on Wednesday December 17 inspired creative and innovative Scarsdale families to go outdoors in frigid temperatures to build snowmen and snow sculptures. With schools closed on Thursday, the contest was a great diversion. Sponsored by the Scarsdale Recreation Department the Snowman contest attracted over 60 entries. The top prize went to the Anderson family for the best overall snowman, "Snowfalke the Snowdog" shown at left. Here are their 13 winners – but if you want to add your snowman to the photo gallery, email a photo to email@example.com.