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Volunteers make book packs for elementary students

Stephanie Llewellyn, business analyst for First National Bank, packs lesson plan bags at the United Way of Butler County Friday, March 1. Christine Border/Special to the Eagle

Dana Stewart normally leads a team of 19 people as the director of the project management office at First National Bank, but on Friday, March 1, he and his employees took on the task of cutting paper into shapes with scissors.

The volunteers from the bank were packing educational kits for kindergarten and first grade students of Butler Area School District, which included books and little puppets of characters depicted in the books.

According to Stewart, the bank takes on volunteer projects every other month, and many of them are aimed at helping children.

“Our goal is to try to do something every other month from a volunteer perspective,” Stewart said. “We like processes.”

Students in classrooms at six schools will receive four high-quality books and activities to use in class and then take home, according to Amy Franz, Butler region director of the United Way. Franz said individual volunteers and volunteers from community businesses were expected to pack up to 1,000 kits Friday.

Franz also said the United Way works with Butler preschool providers to get children registered on time for kindergarten and involved in activities that prepare them for school. The learning kits packed Friday are part of the agency’s mission to promote education and literacy in each Pennsylvania county.

“This is part of a program we do in all five counties in our area,” Franz said.

The kits will be distributed April 4 to Broad Street, Center Township, Connoquenessing, Emily Brittain and Summit elementary schools, and to Northwest Elementary April 9.

Elisha Serotta, volunteer coordinator for the United Way, said one book being packed Friday was about camping, and the other about a search for a mythical creature. The characters cut out by volunteers Friday were another layer of getting children interested in reading.

The volunteers cutting paper and sticking characters to Popsicle sticks also found their inner children through doing the crafty work Friday.

Stephanie Llewellyn, business analyst for First National Bank, said the company frequently collaborates with the United Way for volunteer initiatives.

“We did at the beginning of the school year school supply organization,” Llewellyn said. “We do seem to be doing a lot of things for children.”

Renee Stuyvesant, an employee of First National Bank, packs lesson plan bags Friday, March 1, at the United Way of Butler County. Christine Border/Special to the Eagle
Renee Stuyvesant, an employee of First National Bank, packs lesson plan bags Friday, March 1, at the United Way of Butler County. Christine Border/Special to the Eagle
Stephanie Llewellyn (from left), Joseph Curigliano, Tammy Rynd and Renee Stuyvesant, employees of First National Bank, pack lesson plan bags Friday, March 1, at the United Way of Butler County. Christine Border/Special to the Eagle
Volunteers from First National Bank cut out puppet pieces for lesson plan bags Friday, March 1, at the United Way of Butler County. Christine Border/Special to the Eagle

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