MLK Day of Service: A school library damaged by water gets renovated

More than a hundred people turned out for a MLK Day of Service event in Mt. Airy. In a single day an army of volunteers renovated the library of Roosevelt Middle School on Washington Lane.

It’s a good thing that so many people turned out because the job at hand was big. The full renovation of its library that over the years had a leaky roof.

Two Mt. Airy groups spearheaded today’s Day of Service project for the school. Mt. Airy USA and The Trolley Car Diner.


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Water damage

Anuj Gupta, Exec Dir of Mt. Airy USA, said water leaked in from two sides of the ceiling and forced school staffers to move books into the dry spots. That left finding books through the card catalog system nearly impossible and no place for students. “As you can see we are essentially rebuilding a library for them,” he said.

The mission was toss out the water damaged books and make it a functional library. “We are re-stacking the books, we are making some order out of the room. So it’s functional and usable. We are creating a parent resource center. And were putting some murals up in the room,” Gupta explained


Heeding the call to service

Volunteers were everywhere and not just from Mt. Airy. Groups that brought volunteers today included: Mt. Airy USA, Trolley Car Diner, East Mt. Airy Neighbors, West Mt. Airy Neighbors, the George school, Howard university alumni Philadelphia chapter and Philadelphia University.

But many nearby neighbors heard the call to action and showed up ready to work. Mary Greenway, a Mt. Airy resident, was sitting on the floor putting teacher resource books back on a shelf. For her it was a chance for her to do something good for the community while being with her husband and son, “We always get my son involved, its something we do as a family.”

Stefanie Ressler, Principal of Roosevelt Middle Schools, says renovating the library is just the first step, “Our next project is to get newer books for the library.”


Things keep getting better

Today’s Day of Service event at Roosevelt Middle School was a big boost for the school. This is a school that faces major challenges with 85 percent of its students living under the poverty line.

But things are looking up for the school, last fall it was singled out as one of the School District of Philadelphia’s most improved schools. The Daily News reported that in the last four years Roosevelt Middle School saw its test performance jump 46 points in reading and 52 points in math scores on state exams.

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