Back-to-school block party encourages reading in Schenectady

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Young children in Schenectady celebrated the end of summer with a huge block party in Central Park. It was a chance for students and adults to get excited about the upcoming school year and encourage literacy!

A typical summer day in the park turned into a block party filled with face painting, balloon animals and books.  A lot of books.

“This is to celebrate the end of a summer reading experience,” Karri Messler, with the Schenectady City School District, said. “The idea is to make it fun and exciting.”

The event offered haircuts and raffled off new sneakers to get kids excited and ready for a new school year! 

“When we think about what it is that gets kids jazzed and excited about reading, we know that having books that are representative of the population is one of the things we need to work on,” Messler explained.

That’s where their new book mobile comes in.

“We have a book mobile, which is part of our library system and travels throughout the city. All of these book are brand new; published within the last two years,” she added.

Local authors like Ty Allan Jackson, from Pittsfield, appeared at the event with an important message.

“Reading is more social than academic. So keep reading kids,” he exclaimed.

Thursday’s block party also gave students a chance to connect with adult mentors.

“We recognize what’s going on in Schenectady, and we want to be a source of support,” Ebony Belmar said.

She and Dennis Green were there with the group 518 Boys Day Out to help families understand the challenges young adults face.

“It’s a new age. We need as many people, positive people, because young people are going through a lot,” they added.

The Schenectady City School District  teamed up with Ellis Medicine to organize the event.  Event organizers told NEWS10 ABC this year’s event had an even bigger turnout than last summer’s.

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