Special to 1812Blockhouse

With the ongoing concerns of COVID-19, Richland Newhope was not able to celebrate March Awareness in the traditional manner last month.

One of this year’s awareness activities included a book distribution to celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month with the local schools. Newhope distributed a book about inclusion to all public and private 1st -grade students in Richland County. With the help from Scholastic, Richland County Youth and Family Council, and United Way’s Big Red Bookshelf, Newhope was able to order and distribute 1,400 copies of the book Strictly No Elephants written by Lisa Mantchev.

Strictly No Elephants is about the local Pet Club that won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, so he finds a solution—he creates a pet club that doesn’t exclude any pet. This is an excellent book for
young readers about inclusion, friendship, and acceptance. It is a smart, funny, and an easy read.

The Community Education Department reached out to the author, Lisa Mantchev, to share with her the event involving her book. Lisa stated, “Thank you so much for sharing the fantastic work
your organization is doing, as well as the pictures of all the amazing students. My heart was truly warmed by this news, and the tiny elephant who lives in my office is waving a greeting to all his
new friends!”

When asked about the books Butler Elementary received, Principal Libby Nickoli stated, “We are so thankful for Richland Newhope’s donation of Strictly No Elephants to our first graders at
Butler Elementary. This story about inclusion allows our teachers to create meaningful discussions through pictures and storytelling. Children love to be read to, and when you can incorporate a valuable lesson, it becomes priceless.”

“This event was a wonderful addition to our annual awareness activities and reached some of our youngest students. Acceptance of people’s abilities and differences really needs to start at a
young age. We plan to make this an annual event,” said Newhope Superintendent Michele Giess.

Source, Photo: Richland Newhope

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