81 Student Poems Edited by 11 Volunteers at ‘Be The One’ Day at P.S./M.S. 279 in the Bronx


Community-Word Project held the 4th Annual “Be The One” editing day at P.S./M.S. 279 in the Bronx. Eleven volunteers from Linklaters, BlackRock, One King’s Lane, and Rizzoli Publishing helped improve the literacy skills of eighty-one students in grades 5 through 7. Our volunteers were joined by two Community-Word Project board members. Each worked one-on-one with our students preparing their poems for publication. 

The students worked closely with their personal editors to strengthen their verses. One volunteer, Gail Sharbaan of Blackrock said, “The amount of time with each kid – to not be rushed, to dedicate that time to each student – was great.”

Ms. Gail’s impact on one student, 7th grader Jeremy, was immediate. “We had a very important test,” said Jeremy, “that we had to take at the end of the year. I used some of her methods and I did very well, better than I did all year. And if I could meet her again, I would thank her. She taught me how to express an emotion better and not rush the emotion. She showed me how to put the emotion throughout the writing to express it better.” 

“Experiencing the kids’ creative minds, being surprised by their imaginative images, their eagerness and joy of creating was powerful.” Charlotte Patton of Linklaters.

We share this city, yet how often do we listen to each other’s hopes and fears? Cahre Villarini of Linklaters found, “the best part of the day was hearing the experiences of the kids—their words about their life events.”

Our volunteers clearly work for companies that believe in what Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative, calls a purpose economy. “At its heart, the purpose economy generates purpose for people. It addresses the critical need for people to express themselves, be part of a community and be part of something greater than themselves.”

Do you participate in a purpose economy? Do you try to bring purpose to your life and work everyday? How do you connect with your community?