By TONIA HILL
The Hyde Park Kenwood Community Action Council (HPKCAC) is gearing up for its first ever community wide reading event that will be held at neighborhood schools this fall.
The one-day reading event is named after the late Jane Averill, who was a long-time community member and teacher at Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., and CAC member.
Kristy Ulrich Papczun, CAC co-secretary, said having Averill’s name on the event encompasses the message of the CAC and is an opportunity to honor her memory.
The book selected for the event is “We All Sing with the Same Voice,” a favorite of Averill.
Averill passed away after a battle with cancer nearly two years ago. She was 58.
To the Ray School community, Averill was a caring teacher.
Before she became a teacher at Ray, she was a Ray mother, and was passionate about early childhood education and development, among other causes. Above all, she was an advocate for children, according to her peers.
As mentioned in a previous article in the Herald, Averill was also an active supporter of the Chicago Teacher’s Union and worked hard to prevent Chicago Public Schools (CPS) from closing. She supported the teacher’s strike of 2012, and in true “Jane form,” came up with her own strike songs.
Ray dedicated an art gallery space in Averill’s honor after her passing. It now holds the artwork of students on the second floor in the school.
Volunteers will spend 20-30 minutes at a public elementary school in the area reading to small groups in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten classrooms followed by a tour of the school.
As of Herald press time, six of the nine schools within CAC boundaries have confirmed to be a part of the reading event that will be held on Friday, Oct. 6.
Schools include Ariel Community Academy, 1119 E. 46th St.; Andrew Carnegie Elementary School, 1414 E. 61st Place; Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St.; Kozminski Community Academy, 936 E. 54th St.; Murray Language Academy, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave.; Ray Elementary School; Reavis Elementary School, 834 E. 50th St.; Jackie Robinson Elementary School, 4225 S. Lake Park Ave., and Beulah Shoesmith School, 1330 E. 50th St.
The CAC is seeking volunteers and donations.
57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St., will assist the CAC in ordering books for the event and will also be the place where those who wish to help can make donations.
Ulrich Papczun said book are $5 each. They wish to provide each child at participating schools with a personal copy of the book to take home.
The CAC needs $2,500 to meet their goal.
The CAC, birthed the idea of a one-day reading event earlier this year after each Chicago Public School (CPS) CAC received $3,000 total, to use for purposes such as materials or supplies for schools that participate in the CAC.
The CAC in March, brainstormed ideas for best use of the funds that aligned with their three-point plan that consists of early childhood education, supporting middle school students and socio-emotional development.
The one-day reading event was birthed from that discussion.
CPS gave close deadlines for submissions for proposals, so the CAC voted instead to fund another project and reserved the reading event for a later time.
The HPKCAC is one of nine community action councils within CPS. HPKCAC is the smallest regarding the geographical area of schools.
To sign up to volunteer visit https://goo.gl/jbDnjZ