CLARK, NJ – When Michele Ferrentino turned 50 in 2017, she decided to give the gifts instead of receiving them.  She said in recognition of her own good fortune and the blessings life has brought her way, she decided to do 50 good deeds instead.  Ferrentino’s vision was to bring hope, spread joy and inspire others to bring compassion to the world. 

She said she initially thought all 50 good deeds needed to be completed during her fiftieth year but then she had a change of heart.  “I realized I did not want to rush it; I am determined to make sure each deed is sincere;” said Ferrentino.

Her thirtieth and most recent good deed was the unveiling of a ‘Little Free Library’ on her front lawn.  It’s a library where children are encouraged to stop by, browse, take a book home and return it when they are done.

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“I have always had the joy of reading and wanted to share it with the children of Clark.  Since we live close to Hehnly School, I figured that as children passed, they would be able to stop and borrow books,” said Ferrentino.  “My vision is to spread the joy of reading, the power of sharing and the honor of dedicating."

Ferrentino has been a Teacher’s Aide in the Clark School System for well over a decade and said she loves her work with young children.  During her years in the school system she has enjoyed watching young children develop a love of reading which led to the idea for this good deed.

 “I have collected hundreds of books, which I will interchange for the different seasons and holidays. The books range in grade level from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 5. Children are encouraged to borrow, learn, enjoy, share, return and dedicate the books in my library.” she said. 

Ferrentino said the library was her vision but only made possible with the crafty and skilled hands of her husband and father-in-law. The Little Free Library can be found at 83 Meadow Road, Clark. 

Some of Ferrentino’s good deeds have been planned, while others happen spontaneously. Here is a look at a few of the 30 she has already completed:

  • Raised a Seeing-Eye puppy named Vincent
  • Paid for gas for a veteran who was parked behind her at a local gas station.
  • Purchased and distributed hand warmers to people who were working through the cold months.
  • Made a goodie bag for a girl waiting with her dad in a broken-down car not far from Ferrentino’s home.
  • Gave a garden flag she was purchasing at Kohl’s to the woman behind her after she commented that it reminded her of her late mother.   Ferrentino said she will never forget the look on her face or the tear-filled eyes as she gave it to the stranger. 

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