In a time of giving, United Way teamed up with Nila J. Webster to ensure preschoolers enjoyed the holiday season.
The United Way of Northern New Jersey is a non-profit organization that aims to ameliorate people’s live and strengthen communities with the primary focus on education, income and health. After all, these are solid foundations to leading a good life. For instance, a fine quality education can lead to a stable career, which will in turn provide financial security to maintain good health. United Way of Northern New Jersey serves Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties as well as portions of suburban Essex County, including the Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Livingston, Millburn-Short Hills, Montclair, Roseland and Verona.
Nila J. Webster, a children’s author, was in the spirit of giving during this holiday season. She donated 2,300 copies of her picture book, The Gift of You, The Gift of Me, to United Way in hopes of spreading the literature with preschoolers across the region. Webster believed that everyone has a gift within him or her that can be shared with others.
Webster’s book invokes hope and courage among a cat and his friendship with the trees at the end of his lane. The book was written in English but also includes translations in Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish, accommodating many families worldwide.
United Way distributed the books to preschools across its five-county footprint including Morris, Somerset, Suburban Essex, Sussex and Warren counties. The preschools receiving the books are all involved with the United Way Success By 6 initiative. This specific initiative works to improve access to high-quality early education for all families in the region. Webster originally offered this donation in early November and as United Way would have it, they jumped at the opportunity of enhancing early literacy.
Webster has been battling lung cancer for the past six years and said she hopes her gift “inspires others to think about community giving.” All while through her fight to cancer, Webster has donated more than 200,000 of her books to children in Hong Kong, France, Argentina and Spain as well as to United Ways in New Mexico and Missouri. She also continues to write new books for elementary and middle school students.
“Young children learn to enjoy reading when they read with their parents,” said United Way Success By 6 Manager JoAnn Quattro. “For so many children to be able to bring this uplifting story home with them is a very special gift. We are grateful to Ms. Webster for promoting early literacy with a positive message.”
The following are the centers that will receive books in each county:
- Morris County: Ada Budrick Child Care & Early Learning Center, Children On the Green, Dover Child Care Center, El Primer Paso, Head Start of Morris County, Jefferson Child Care & Early Learning Center, F.M. Kirby Center for Children – Madison YMCA, Morristown Neighborhood House, Mt Olive Child Care & Early Learning Center, NORWESCAP, Parsippany Child Day Care Center, Roxbury Child Care Center, Richard F. Blake Center – Greater Morristown YMCA, Salvation Army – Morristown
- Somerset County: Jerry Davis Center/ARC of Somerset, Raritan Valley Community College, The Learning Gate, Somerset County YMCA – Hillsborough, Somerset County YMCA – Somerville, South Branch Reformed Church Nursery School
- Suburban Essex: Montclair Child Development Center, Montclair Community Pre-K, Neighborhood Child Care Center, Neighborhood House Nursery School, Peanut Shell Early Childhood Learning Center/Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges
- Sussex County: First Impressions, KEEP, Head Start/NORWESCAP, Rainbows of Learning, West Side Child Care Center
- Warren County: Phillipsburg Head Start/NORWESCAP
For those interested in learning more and/or participating in the United Way of Northern New Jersey‘s efforts, the Montclair office is located on 60 South Fullerton Ave. # 205, Montclair, N.J. and can be best contacted at 973-746-4040.