When Chappell Principal Joseph Peila heads to Japan next month as part of an educator exchange program, he won’t be packing light. In fact, the heavier his baggage, the better.
In advance of Peila’s trip, Chappell is holding a gently-used or new book drive, aiming to collect as many easy English-language children’s books as possible. The books will be distributed to Japanese youngsters, intended to provide a small measure of emotional support to thousands of people displaced by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami; though the media’s attention has long since been diverted elsewhere, the need of Japan’s citizens is still great.
In a letter to the Chappell community, Peila noted: “General interest in the ordeal has dwindled and the relief effort is sometimes slow. Psychological care for the victims is becoming paramount as many of them are feeling forgotten by the world and isolated in temporary housing.”
Peila is one of three Chicago educators selected for the exchange program, in part because Chappell plans to begin a Japanese Studies program next year.
To participate in the book drive, simply drop off books at the main office of Chappell Elementary, 2135 W. Foster Ave., by May 25.