NEWARK, NJ - The actor best known for her role as Hilary Banks on "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" will be in Newark to help kick off United Way of Essex and West Hudson’s 30th annual Celebrity Read.

Karyn Parsons, who starred on the NBC comedy sitcom from 1990 to 1996, will be the celebrity chairperson for this year’s read. She will read her debut novel, “How High the Moon,” to students at Sussex Avenue School in Newark tomorrow.

Celebrity Read is a long-standing literacy program created by United Way of Essex and West Hudson, an organization that helps residents in 13 municipalities gain access to education and economic opportunities. The program recruits volunteers to model their love for reading to Pre-K to 4th graders and the initiative was honored by the Library of Congress in 2001.

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“We are pleased to offer Celebrity Read to 32 schools within our footprint,” said United Way of Essex and West Hudson President Catherine Wilson in a statement.

“That translates to hundreds of volunteers making a difference in a child’s life by sharing stories and experiences about their jobs and interests.  Celebrity Read is extremely popular, so much that we expanded and hosted a holiday read and we also host a special program for early childhood learners during Week of the Young Child." 

Several other professionals will volunteer their time to read to students at 16 other schools in Newark tomorrow too.

Parsons' debut novel will be released in March.

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