By Rhonda Massad
For the last ten years, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has nominated schools across the country to take the adopt-a-school challenge. This year Souvenir Elementary School in Chomedy, with a population of 605 students, the largest elementary school in Laval, will enjoy the benefits of $20,000 in books for their school library.
Thirty elementary schools participated in this year’s challenge, with a grand prize of $10,000, one for each province.
The challenge started in September and lasted three weeks. Once the school is nominated the race to accumulate the most adopts on the Indigo website is vital.
Spreading the word is the real challenge. Parents, staff and students were able to adopt the school and or make a donation.
In Quebec, three elementary schools battled for the ultimate prize. Souvenir Elementary School rang up 21,329 adopts, placing Maple Grove in second place with 19,224 adopts and St. Mary’s Elementary School third with 5,028 adopts.
The school also received an additional donation of $10,000 in generous donations that were made in the name of the school on the Indigo website or in-store.
On Nov. 22, the children of the schools participated in choosing the books that were to be purchased. The students will also get their name on a plaque in the book that says by whom the book was chosen giving them a sense of ownership within the library.
According to the Indigo Love for Reading website more than 42 percent of Canadians are functionally illiterate. A large number of Canadian children don’t own a single book. Their school libraries are their only access to books.
Current school-library budgets allow for less than one book per child. A great majority of parents say that their schools fundraise to support their libraries. In Quebec, $1,000 is the average amount each teacher spends out-of-pocket yearly to buy books and learning materials for students.
Each year, the Foundation grants $1.5 million to 20 high-need elementary schools to transform their underfunded libraries. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, the foundation has committed $15 million dollars to 170 schools.