Deborah Notis and Marilyn Rivkin launched their business, gamechanger, a few years ago to help Westchester children improve their performance in academics, music, art or sports.
For the second consecutive spring, the pair will be giving back to the community with the same objective in mind.
Starting on May 1 and continuing for the entire month, Notis and Rivkin have organized a children’s book drive where at least six area businesses will set up receptacles to collect new and gently used books for children and teens. The collected items will be donated to Neighbors Link in Mount Kisco.
Notis said after launching gamechanger, which refers parents to highly qualified and competitively priced tutors, art and music teachers and sports coaches, and being embraced by the communities they serve, they sought to reach out to those areas and help others in return.
Notis and Rivkin, whose business serves all of Westchester but has families concentrated in the Mount Kisco-Chappaqua area, thought that since helping youngsters reach their potential has been their mission, there’s no better way to continue that than to promote children’s literacy.
“When we started the company, we wanted to make children feel empowered and enable their parents to make them more well-rounded, and we both feel that reading is the greatest thing that you can give a child,” Notis said.
Rivkin said Neighbors Link was selected after one of the organization’s volunteers, who they are friendly with, suggested that if they were doing the book collection again it would be an excellent choice. Since Neighbors Link helps recent immigrant families in and around Mount Kisco to integrate into the community, it also helps to empower and educate those families, she said.
“What if these children do not have access to books?” Rivkin asked. “We wanted to make sure that that would not be an issue for them.”
Last year, for the inaugural collection, gamechanger was able to donate more than 800 books to the Ossining Children’s Center. This year they are hoping to exceed that number.
Rivkin said with summer looming it is also a good idea to put books into children’s hands and encourage the love of learning outside of the classroom.
“We’re heading to the summer and if we can get them excited, maybe they’ll carry that through the summer months and will help them for the future academic year,” she said.
Neighbors Link Executive Director Carola Bracco said she was delighted to learn the organization was chosen. The Columbus Avenue facility has a small library, but this will bring a fresh supply of books for the roughly 700 families that Neighbors Link serves, Bracco said.
It also will help parents, some of whom are learning English themselves, to practice reading along with their children, she said.
“We’re very proud to have been selected and we’re proud to be participating,” Bracco said.
English and Spanish language children’s books will be accepted during the drive.
The locations that are collecting books are TWIST, 1136 Pleasantville Rd., Briarcliff Manor; the Office of Dr. Kathy Hirsch, 153 Main St., Suite F1, Mount Kisco; Walgreens Chappaqua, 411 King St., Chappaqua; Mount Kisco Seafood, 477 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco; Douglas Elliman – Armonk, 404 Main St., Armonk; and Rockin’ Jump, 333 N. Bedford Rd., Mount Kisco.
For more information about the book drive or gamechanger, call 914-449-6772, visit gamechangernow.com or e-mail email@example.com.