GW Fins Partners with New Orleans Police Department to Launch Youth Reading Program

NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, Oct. 23, a popular French Quarter restaurant and local law enforcement launched their joint community outreach program, designed to decrease crime while improving literacy. GW Fins and the New Orleans Police Department are in the process of unrolling a campaign that encourages reading, and fosters good will between children and police officers.

During a press conference held on Tuesday at the Third Police district, Gary Wollerman, the owner and managing partner of GW Fins, and NOPD deputy police chief Paul Noel, discussed the program's various components.

Little Free Libraries – commissioned by GW Fins – were unveiled and placed in the first, third and sixth NOPD police precincts. The libraries were painted by local artist Paige DeBell and feature whimsical illustrations, such as an image of a big green fish reading a book.

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There are more than 70,000 Little Free Libraries around the world, including more than 100 libraries that are mapped and registered in New Orleans. They're situated on both private and public properties and contain free books that kids can either borrow or keep. People can also donate books to the tiny libraries.

GW Fins will work with the New Orleans non-profit literacy organization, STAIR, to stock these libraries with books for children of all ages. Kids are encouraged to stop by the police stations and chat with police officers and, ultimately, develop a positive relationship with them.

Officers in these districts will also carry books in their police cars and share them with children who are at the scene of conflicts, or in a potentially precarious situation.

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GW Fins will supply officers with copies of the children's book, Snowballs For All, written by local author, Alexander Brian McConduit.

The NOPD community relations representative, along with McConduit (when he's available), will read the book to second-grade students in certain schools throughout the first, third, and sixth districts. Each of the students will receive a complimentary copy of Snowballs for All.

GW Fins will host fundraising events throughout the year to help expand the program throughout the city.

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“We wanted to develop a program that would make a positive impact on the safety and education of the community today and in the future, while supporting the NOPD,” said Wollerman in a statement. “Increased literacy has been proven to have a direct correlation with decreasing crime, and similar reading programs have successfully achieved this positive outcome in other major cities throughout the country. We have designed this program to forge a very early, positive relationship between the young children of New Orleans and our Police Officers."


By Biz New Orleans writer Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur


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