FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- During National Volunteer Month (April), the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is recognizing the great work done by volunteers on "We are Y Wednesdays."

Gabrielle Klausner, a junior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, brings her love of reading and creativity to the Y's school age child care students.

“I wanted to try and find a creative way for high school students to have an impact on the community through reading. I’m really passionate about reading and writing and I enjoy working with children. I’ve worked as a camp counselor and babysitter," Gabrielle said. "I also was looking to create a club for students interested in going into education or who wanted to work with children.

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Gabrielle started the Beyond the Book Club in November and reached out to the Y because she knew about its after-school program. There are now about 15 students in the club.

"Each month, we create our own lesson plans during a planning meeting. We first pick a book to revolve the lesson around, then plan activities to go with the book. Then, each month, we go to either Brunner or Evergreen Elementary School and work with first and second graders there," Gabrielle explained. "We start with a warm-up that introduces one concrete language art element. Then, we read the story. Afterwards, we have a discussion that introduces a new literary concept to the students."

"We try to make it exciting for them; at the end we also do a creative craft that’s related to the book. It gets the kids to be creative and use their imaginations," Gabrielle added. "I love that the students are so into it and enjoy what we’re doing. This opportunity means so much to me – to be able to share my love of reading with the community.”

To learn more about FSPY’s volunteer opportunities, click here

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals, families and communities it serves through programs and services that build wholeness of spirit, mind and body. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization founded on Christian principles, serving people of all ages, races, faith, cultures and socio-economic conditions. For information on membership or programs, or to request a schedule of classes, call (908) 889-8880 or visit https://fspymca.org. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.