Cornerstone introduces lending library as part of Newburgh school district literacy initiative

In October a room full of educators, local officials and representatives from community organizations gathered at SUNY Orange’s Kaplan Hall for the launch of “Newburgh Basics,” a school district literacy initiative targeting parents of kids up to 3 years old.

The idea: recruit community organizations to distribute to parents and guardians resources – such as books and literacy-focused games – they can use to help their children build the basic cognitive, math and reading skills behind long-term academic success.

One of those community organizations, Cornerstone Family Healthcare, unveiled on Thursday one of its contributions to the initiative: a second-floor lending library stocked with books collected by schoolchildren.

“Every baby is born with potential,” said Dr. Avi Silber, Cornerstone’s chief medical officer. “There are simple things that everyone can do to help those babies reach their potential and those things don’t take money or even too much effort on our part – or the part of parents.”

Students from New Windsor School collected or donated the books under a service learning project undertaken by the school’s Leadership Club. Students from Newburgh Free Academy’s Construction Academy designed, built and painted the library’s bookcases.

A website,, includes videos covering topics such as creating healthy and nurturing environments for children and engaging them intellectually.

“Parenting can be hard and it can be lonely work,” said Alicia Pointer, a Cornerstone doctor. “Partnering with organizations like the school district is a great way to show parents that there are a lot of community groups that are able and excited to help parents nurture and teach their children.”

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    Leonard Sparks

    Leonard Sparks covers the City of Newburgh as a reporter for the Times Herald-Record newspaper. Read Full
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