Each year, the William Floyd Youth & Government program participates in a service learning project, which tackles an issue of importance with a goal of helping to improve communities across New York State. This year’s project, spearheaded by William Floyd High School senior Sarah Mazzarella who served as the lieutenant governor for the 2017 Youth & Government conference, focused on promoting childhood and ENL (English as a New Language) literacy.
Mazzarella coordinated this effort throughout the state with her Youth & Government counterparts and collected more than 4,000 books for distribution. She chose this particular project because she has an interest in entering the education field and believes in the importance of literacy. Many of the books were distributed locally to help supplement teacher libraries at district elementary schools, and across the state in various elementary schools, ENL and other literacy programs.
“I believe literacy unlocks a child’s potential and unlocking this potential is not a luxury but a necessity,” said Mazzarella. “Students who do not have access to books and other educational tools start kindergarten with a learning gap and as they progress through school this gap can become wider and more difficult to close.”
In addition to her dedicated involvement in the Youth and Government program, Sarah is a member of the National Honor Society, performs in the Chamber Orchestra, the Select Choir and is a member of the tennis team. She plans to pursue music education in college and is considering a minor in public policy.
Last year’s project was coordinated by then Lieutenant Governor Emma van Nieuwenhuizen and focused on bringing awareness to and supporting the victims of domestic violence. Evan Meinke, the 2018 lieutenant governor, will coordinate the project for next year’s conference.
Pictured: Sarah Mazzarella is pictured with Tangier Smith Elementary School kindergarten teacher Wendy Gross, who will share some of the books with her fellow teachers to help supplement their classroom libraries.