Shaker students collect hundreds of children’s books with “Rising Readers” project

Local

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) Madison VanDenburg isn’t the only impressive student at Shaker High School. On Friday, two young women launched the “Rising Readers” service project, collecting books for kids across the Capital Region and beyond.

Shaker Juniors Vaishali and Labika say they just wanted to share their love of reading with the Capital Region.

“Growing up, we’ve always really liked reading books and we’ve always really valued the impact the education has had on our lives,” said Labika Baral, one of the founders of Rising Readers. “But we figured out that not everybody gets the same equality in education.”

Their plainly evident passion for reading inspired United Way to reach out about a partnership with Rising Readers.

“We were so excited because we didn’t even know that that it was students,” said Michaelle Mugisha, United Way Community Impact Manager. “We thought it was just an organization that is local. And then we got to see them and they were students, and we were inspired by them.”

The students have so far helped United Way meet their goal of collecting 10,000 books in time for 5.18 day, a community-wide day of service on May 18.

While Vaishali and Labika are thrilled to have had such an impact here in the Capital Region, they are also planning to spread their love of books even farther.

“This morning actually, we got a text from Long Island saying ‘we have some books to donate, can we send them to you or somewhere close to here?’” said Labika.

The project is growing so fast the students say they can hardly believe it.

“A lot of people have said we inspire them and that’s just one of the best things to hear,” said Labika. “It’s like oh my god, us really?”

But if you ask their principal, he’ll tell you, there’s no limit to what the students from Shaker High School can do.

“I’m not surprised,” said Shaker High School Principal Richard Murphy. “I’m still amazed at what they can do each and every day.”

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