nameplate
Logan and Adam with Northwest Elementary School students. (Photos courtesy the New York Literacy Project)

Jericho Students Promote Literacy Through Children’s Books Distribution

Jackie Kennedy once said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is best of all.”
Jericho High School junior Logan Cohen, the founder of the nonprofit New York Literacy Project, can attest to the importance of books, especially as a child; he’s been a lifelong reader.

“Growing up, I had always loved to read books,” Logan said. “It has been a fundamental part of my life, and I feel that it has shaped who I am as a person.”

Students were happy about their new books!

Unfortunately, not all children have access to a library of books at home, in the classroom or elsewhere. According to the United States Department of Education, 2.5 million children are enrolled in districts with no libraries. And 13 million children are enrolled in districts where the children’s materials circulation is less than 10 per student, including 3.4 million students in poverty and 6.6 million students of color.
Access to books is important. The National Assessment of Educational Progress found that students who report having more books in their homes perform better academically.
“When I heard that there were school districts or parts of Long Island where kids did not have as much access to good literature, especially educational resources, as I did, I wanted to be able to give these kids an opportunity to access literature as I did,” Logan said.
In fact, a viral social media trend has been teachers discussing the decline in literacy rates in their classrooms. A memo from the White House confirmed that the pandemic had substantial impacts on education systems around the globe. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found a decline in reading test scores by 15 percent between 2018 and 2022.
Through the New York Literacy Project, Logan has been working with other local nonprofits, such as Jericho Cares and the Spanish Civic Association, to fundraise and purchase books for the community.
Jericho High School Social Worker Ray Velez, who has been working with Logan and his non-profit, recommended the Amityville Union Free School District as the recipient of the books. He also directed Logan to nonprofits that could help him raise the money to purchase new books.
Through fundraising efforts, such as a sneaker collection for Gotsneakers, a sneakers recycling company that pays up to $7 per pair, enough money was raised to provide 650 books to Northwest Elementary School in Amityville.
“We ensured that each kid received a book of their own to take and keep, which we consider to be pivotal,” Logan said. “We tried to make sure that each kid received a brand new book to take home.”

Students Max and Logan donating to Jericho Cares.

Logan and his friend Adam Cohen, a volunteer, visited the elementary school recently to bring the books that the students were allowed to choose from and to read books to the classes. The remaining books were donated to the school library.
“I was shocked by how well they received it,” Logan said. “I can’t remember kids being as passionate about reading as kids were when I was young. These kids were ecstatic.”
Logan added that the students were giving him hugs and high-fives.
“It made my heart feel really full,” Logan said. “That’s what I set out to achieve when I made this non-profit.”
Northwest Elementary School Principal Kathleen Hyland said she was thrilled that Northwest shining stars could receive the books.
“Our students were excited to listen to their stories and to learn about Logan and Adam’s passion for reading and finding the inspiration to do big things,” Hyland said.
In addition to operating his non-profit, Logan leads a book club called the Tweens & Teens Book Club. Readers can join by following the Instagram page, which has over 3,400 followers. Logan also writes book reviews and speaks with authors like Rochelle Weinstein and Sam Woodruff through his podcast, TheWrittenWord.
Oxana Cohen, Logan’s mother, said she was proud.
“It was so natural because it was something he just wanted to do,” Oxana said. “He always had a book with him. He always loved reading. He loved getting lost in the books.”
Logan inherited his passion of reading from Oxana, so much so that he can’t imagine anyone else not wanting to relax by reading a book.
“He said, ‘I want everybody to be able to have this love of books,’” Oxana added.
She was amazed by Logan’s ability to juggle the nonprofit, book club and AP-level classes.
When asked if he had any advice for other students who want to make a difference, Logan said, “Just ask.” It was because he asked a question to social worker Velez that he made the connections needed to serve the community.
“I have many different classes, several different grade levels, and different towns helping me,” Logan said. “It really has expanded into something I could have never imagined.”
Moving forward, the New York Literacy Project is continuing to work with the Amityville Union Free School District to supply books for the personal classroom libraries using a wishlist provided by the teachers.
The nonprofit will also donate books to Jericho Cares for their Easter event and back-to-school drive and to the Spanish Civic Association summer program.
The nonprofit will remain after Logan goes to college. Students in younger grades will take over, and Logan will serve as an advisory board member
To support the New York Literacy Project, and to learn more, visit newyorkliteracyproject.org.

Ukrainian Rocker Talks
Fundraising For Friends,
25 Years Of Touring

Gogol Bordello to play free benefit
in Tompkins Square Park

By Cory Olsen – April 15, 2024

THIS WEEK'S
SPECIAL SECTIONS

Profiles In Education Cover
UPCOMING EVENTS
  • No events