by Justin Young
Since December, HarlemLive has been volunteering at the 86th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) Barnes&Noble Bookstore. In an effort to raise money for the organization, .HarlemLive has been wrapping books for donations. Other groups involved in this program are: the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State, the East Harlem Tutorial Program, and the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center.
Relatively new to the gift wrapping profession, the HL staff had a hard time adjusting to the rigorous task of wrapping, cutting, and taping. The ability to build and maintain a website that includes animation, video, artwork, and not to mention compelling stories, does not necessarily require the all-too-simple skills of folding in flaps and carefully aligning the edges. But despite all the paper cuts, books of abnormal size and the occasional gift brought in from another store(!), the HL youth and advisors pressed on.
HL students have devoted their weekends (i.e. cartoons and Cheerios) to the cause of raising more money for their growing enterprise. The money will help pay for HL Stationary, train fare, Reporters Notebooks and office supplies. HL students worked with a diligence motivated by keeping their valued after-school program afloat.
After devoting an entire weekend to wrapping books, I have gained a level of humility never beforeachieved by this lowly kid from the Bronx. I have experienced the customers — their moods, quirks and sometimes odd behavior. I have experienced the customers’ children — their screaming, playing, and mouth-gaping fascination with scotch tape. But it was all taken with a grain of salt, and by the end of the day I could truly say that I enjoyed myself. I got the opportunity to mingle with new and interesting people (don’t forget their kids). I got to experience my first paper cut, and do it all with a sense of meaning and purpose.
Hey, you know what? I think I’ll do it again. I, along with several other HL members, will be trying our hand one more time at gift wrapping this weekend the 22nd and 23rd. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. We will be trying our best to satisfy all your wrapping needs
Come out and meet us!! Get a book wrapped!
HarlemLive would like to thank Oneika Mays, Frances Kelly, and Deborah Williams for allowing us the opportunity to work and fundraise in their store