We rode the emotion of 2013-2014 Syracuse University basketball season together. From southern California, North Carolina and Brooklyn, this team connected three childhood friends to our roots, to the community we loved and to each other. As we headed into the NCAA tournament after roller-coaster regular season, we decided the time was right.

Syracuse basketball connects all of us together; it roots us. It helps us to feel significant. As the close of another season approached, we wanted to extend those feelings, in time and to a new context. We thought that others may want to do so as well.

On the day before the first NCAA tournament game, we went live with a crowdfunding campaign to raise money from Syracuse fans to purchase books for Syracuse City school district students that live near the Carrier Dome. We were inspired by the research demonstrating the impact of providing elementary school students with new books for the summer break. Simply providing students with books of their choice for summer reading is shown to improve performance on reading proficiency tests by 35-40%.

By the end of Syracuse’s run in the tournament, the campaign had raised enough money to give approximately 10 brand-new books to every first grade student at the elementary school closest to the dome – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary. In June, every first grade student at the school brought home their new books. For some students, these are the only books they have at home.

We can’t wait for next year’s basketball season to begin. We are excited to see what we can do with your support again next year. Please check out our photo galleries for some photos of the kids, their books, and the thank you letters that they wrote to us. Please send us an email at books4cusekids@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more about the project or getting involved next year.


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