Tag Archives: Luis Munoz Marin School

“Help Santa!” Katherine Miller Asked. Westport Delivered.

Less than 2 weeks ago, “06880” followed up on the story of Katherine Miller.

The longtime Westporter was delivering Uber Eats last winter, to supplement her income. She was assaulted picking up an order, and suffered a head injury. Residents donated $33,000 to help defray medical and rehabilitation bills.

This month, Katherine wanted to pay it forward.

In 2020, she had written a book. “Help Santa!!!” is a clever, light-hearted and rhythmic story about kindness, in which children get a chance to help St. Nick with a chimney problem.

Each book includes a “Magic Key” that — when young readers hold it in their hands and think “magical thoughts,” then hang on their door on Christmas Eve — can help them “help Santa.” She offered them at $12.99 each (far below the price on Amazon, and her website) — with every sale a donation to Bridgeport elementary schools.

“06880” readers responded at warp speed. This week, Miller and Trammi Nguyen — a Westporter who coordinates volunteers in Bridgeport — delivered scores of books to the Bryant and Luis Muñoz Marín Schools.

Miller visited pre-K, and 2nd and 4th grade students.  “They were over the moon with happiness and joy,” she reports. They adored her necklace — the same “magic key” that every child received with the book.

Excited students with Katherine Miller — and their “magic keys.”

The book was read to the pre-K and 2nd grade students.

Younger kids were read to …

The 4th graders took turns reading out loud, with great enthusiasm.

… while older youngsters read “Help Santa!” themselves.

For all, the chance to get a new book was special. Nearly always, schools in need receive donations that are “pre-owned.”

A second grade boy told his teacher it was the best day of his life.

“There is so much love in this world,” Miller says. “I honestly feel so blessed. My heart is so full, being given such an amazing flow of kindness from our community.

“This experience has completely changed my life. It made me realize my bad experience was not a tragedy. It was a window to see a whole new beautiful world.”

Thanks to Katherine Miller, and all those in Westport and beyond who helped open that window — with “magical” books — for all those Bridgeport boys and girls.

(A special hat tip too to Danielle Dobin. She created the original GoFundMe for Katherine, then helped make the book drive a reality.)

More joy (and love) at the holidays.

 

Greens Farms Book Gifts: The Sequel

Yesterday, “06880” reported on Greens Farms Elementary School’s great project. Students solicited pledges by reading books. Funds raised went to “Read For Change” — a program organized by parents Leigh Cataudo and Liz Leary to purchase books for students at Bridgeport’s Luis Muñoz Marin School. Every student could select 2 new books of their own, at a Scholastic fair.

On Friday, Leigh and Liz watched with smiles as 7th and 8th graders chose their books.

Yesterday, it was younger students’ turn.

“I wish we could have bottled up the excitement appreciation and pure joy of these kindergartners, 1st and 2nd graders to share with our students,” Leigh says.

“It was nothing short of magical. This was the first time in over a year most students were able to physically interact with books. The school library was closed due to COVID, and any classroom library that would be accessible is still ‘packed up.'”

Leigh and Liz received countless hugs of thanks, which they were asked to pass along to GFS families.

They plan for a second “Read For Change” next year. And they’d like to bring some Greens Farms students with them, to share in the magic.

(Photos/Leigh Cataudo)