PATERSON, NJ - The Paterson Cares team was back in the multi-purpose room at St Augustine Presbyterian Church Saturday serving up breakfast: eggs, waffles, fresh fruit, to more than 20 local children.

As is the case with every one of these gatherings, it wasn’t just the food that provided a healthy start to the day, but also the books. 

Though it was her first Book & Breakfast, lifelong Paterson resident Lashawn Pickens made an impact, according to Gee Grier, one of the organizers. Her reading of “When Sophie Gets Angry,” kept the children’s attention, and imparted an important lesson.

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“Literacy allows children to communicate in the future,” Pickens, a Pre-K teacher in West New York said, adding that the Saturday breakfasts “tap in to children at an early age, making their future brighter.”

Her choice in books is one that she regularly reads in her own classroom, Pickens said, part a curriculum that teaches children how to better manage their emotions, or “express themselves verbally instead of physically.”

While the neighborhood where St. Augustine is located is “different” than when Pickens grew up there, she said, she believes programs like Books & Breakfast will help to “change the community” in a positive way.

“With the positive things,” Pickens concluded, “children won’t have to focus on the negative.”

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