Teen Star Laura Marano Surprises Students at Leckie Elementary School

Laura Marano, actress and avid reader visits local DC elementary students with a book donation Photo: Malcolm Barnes

WASHINGTON, November 27, 2013 – Disney Channel teen actress and singer Laura Marano, from the popular Disney Channel show “Austin & Ally,” visited DC’s Leckie Elementary School to help update the school’s library. 

The day’s events were kicked off in the school auditorium with an assembly of fourth and fifth grade students. Laura chatted with her enthusiastic fans about her love of reading and the importance of literacy in school, work and life. 

Librarian Erika Caputo, Angela Halamandaris of Heart of America, Capital One Volunteer Doris Jones, Student award winners Carl Enburg and Amore Little, Laura Marano and Principal Atasha James

Librarian Erika Caputo, Angela Halamandaris of Heart of America, Capital One Volunteer Doris Jones, Student award winners Carl Enburg and Amore Little, Laura Marano and Principal Atasha James / Malcolm Barnes

 

“What better way to expand your imagination than to read! As an actress I use my reading skills every day. Our script changes every day and about 4 times a week for each show. I love reading so much and recommend that each one of you finds that book and author that totally enchants you” said Laura Marano who started as a child actress at the tender age of five.

Laura also fielded questions from the students, who asked her, “What’s on your bookshelf?” to which Laura responded, “I have a lot of Harry Potter and Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice!”

The Leckie Elementary School was chosen because of its diversity of students that serves students from nearby Bolling Air Force base as well as the far Southeast and Southwest neighborhoods south of the military base. It was also chosen because of the enthusiastic leadership of Principal Atasha James.

The visit was part of Capital One’s “Book by Book” initiative, a digital campaign created in partnership with The Heart of America’s Foundation and Communities-In-Schools that aims to put beloved children’s books into the hands of young readers across the country.

This is the second straight year that Capital One and The Heart of America Foundation have worked with Leckie Elementary. In 2012, Capital One and HOA donated more than 650 books to Leckie and following Book by Book, they will have donated more than 2,000 books in total.

Additionally, Capital One associates volunteer at Leckie during OneWeek to help construct and paint bookshelves for its “What’s on your shelf” program.

Two lucky students also received “The Heroes of the Heart Award” as the most enthusiastic readers in the school. Carl Enburg and Amore Little were this year’s award winners and were presented with their awards by school librarian Erika Caputo. Each child at the school also received three age-appropriate books for their home library.

Laura Marano addresses children / Malcolm Barnes

The Leckie Elementary visit was part of Capital One Bank’s Book by Book initiative, a digital campaign created in partnership with The Heart of America Foundation and Communities-In-Schools program that aims to put beloved children’s books into the hands of deserving young readers across the country. 

Representing The Heart of America Foundation was CEO Angela Halamandaris who explained that, “Capital One walks the walk and consistently provides volunteers. They not only invest money, but they also invest time”, said the Heart of America Foundation leader, whose organization also does library makeovers for local schools.

For every “like” on the Investing for Good Facebook page, Capital One will donate a book to a child in need, up to 50,000 books. Through November 25, 2013, the public can also enter the Book by Book sweepstakes for a chance to win a custom home library.

The Heart of America Foundation, a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, D.C., uniquely combines volunteerism and literacy. The organization’s focus is to provide children in need everywhere with the tools to read, succeed, and make a difference.

The DC based foundation puts books into the hands of children who need them the most while transforming school libraries and education spaces in underserved communities into vital and vibrant centers of learning. Since 1997, the organization has provided children living in poverty with over 3.4 million library and take-home books, completed 215 READesign projects, and engaged volunteers in more than 1,037,500 hours of service to the community.

The third partner in the reading program is Communities-In-Schools, whose mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Working in 2,400 schools, in the most challenged communities in 27 states and the District of Columbia, Communities-In-Schools serves 1.25 million young people and their families every year. 

It has been shown through an independent evaluation to be the nation’s only dropout prevention organization proven to both increase graduation rates and reduce dropout rates.  In August 2013, Communities-In-Schools launched a pledge campaign inviting people to stand with the students being served; learn more and take the pledge at www.cispledge.org or visit the website at www.communitiesinschools.org.


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Malcolm Lewis Barnes

As a credentialed professional photo journalist, Mr. Barnes writes for the SQUARE BUSINESS journal, served as the Business Editor and columnist for the Washington Informer, and the Community Development writer for The Common Denominator newspaper

Contact Malcolm Lewis Barnes

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