Local teens donate 'Little Libraries,' books and $2,000 for swimming lessons to west Fresno

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Saturday, July 2, 2022
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Local high school students are helping two community centers in West Fresno write a new chapter.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local high school students are helping two community centers in West Fresno write a new chapter.

Teens from Fresno's Jack and Jill of America Chapter gathered enough funds to donate two "Little Libraries" filled with dozens of books.

Lalaina Rabetsimba is the teen president of the organization. She says the goal is to get books in the hands of children.

"This limits the certain barriers like having to go to a bookstore or having to go to a library. Instead, their community already has books they don't have to pay. They could keep these books if they wanted to. They can bring them back," says Lalaina.

The "Little Libraries" will be located at two West Fresno Family Resource Centers -- the Maxie L. Parks Community Center and at the Mary Ella Brown Community Center.

Janice Mathurin-Boyd is the Director of Operations for the non-profit.

Families they serve are often from nearby underserved communities.

Janice mentions, "We gladly accepted it because we've served the community for over 20 years and we know the needs that exist. Low literacy is one of them."

Teens also donated $2,000 to the non-profit.

Funds will cover swimming lessons for about 50 kids.

Thomas Stewart is the teen Vice President for Fresno's Jack and Jill of America Chapter.

The donation is personal to him because he has competed in aquatic sports since middle school.

"There's not a lot of other people that look like me or look like us. We thought it was not only important to see more people like us in those spaces, but also make sure that our youth is safe in the water," says Thomas.

President of Fresno's Jack and Jill, Janee Young, believes their swimming lessons will help save lives.

Janee says, "We're so proud of them. They're a great representation of who we are. And what we stand for in the organization."

Both organizations hope to work alongside each other to provide more similar programs for local children.