What do you get when you cross an orthodontist’s office and a law group? A community-oriented book drive.
Gellerman describes herself as a lifelong reader, who believes every child should have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and experience other lives through the written word. This passion is evident in her orthodontic office’s waiting room, where she has “swap-a-book” shelf that encourages patients to take-one and leave-one between visits. But it wasn’t until Laura Palacios a suggested drive that the duo took the next step. “When Laura Palacios mentioned a book drive, we decided to expand [the book swap] to include our patients and everyone in the community,” said Gellerman. “What a great surprise to see how engaged our patients and their families were. We are thrilled with the power of community and how much we can make happen when we act together.”
Palacios co-runs the Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter—a 501(c)3 stemming from Palacios Law Group’s philosophies—with her husband, Xavier Palacios. Xavier is the managing partner of Palacios Law Group, and is also a Huntington native. “It seemed only fitting that he return his focus to his hometown by dedicating his time, volunteering in the community, and supporting its educational advancement,” said Palacios.
Both the Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter and Gellerman Orthodontics are highly involved with events and organizations throughout Huntington. For 10 years, Huntington Station Latin Quarter has hosted annual toy drives and neighborhood cleanups. They also helped communities affected by the Larkfield Road fire this past spring, collecting furniture, clothing, and bedding to help families get back on their feet.
Gellerman is a board member with the Junior Welfare League of Huntington, a member of Pink Aid, and a long-time sponsor for Long Island’s Best, a juried show for young artists at the Heckscher Museum. Gellerman’s support of educational programs earned her recognition at this year’s Huntington Foundation for Excellence in Education (HFEE) gala.
In addition, both Gellerman Orthodontics and Palacios Law Group sponsor Huntington High School’s robotics team. But it was the book drive that brought the two together so directly.
“We focused our book drive’s attention on local churches, as they typically serve as safe havens for members of the community,” Palacios said. “We also reached out to a homeless shelter the Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter assists during our annual toy drive, and they were also very happy to receive the books.”
Palacios found working within the community to be warm and welcoming. “People came from all over to lend a helping hand,” she said, adding that experience reinforced the idea that Huntington is tight-knit.
Gellerman and Palacios not only donated books 1,200 books for all ages, but also created a place to keep them. “We thought it would be a great idea to donate the bookshelves as well,” Gellerman said. Students and young adults gathered to build the shelves together in April. “It was endearing to see them working together to create something that would benefit others in the future,” Palacios said. She added that the look on the volunteers’ faces when the shelves were complete will stay with her for quite some time.
Gellerman echoed Palacios’ sentiment, saying, “It was very inspiring to see so many people to come together to help a less fortunate community.”
Books were donated to the congregations of Assembly of God and the Restoration Church of God in Huntington Station, as well as two Haven House shelters, all in Huntington Station.
August 8: Harborfields Public Library Poetry Reading: Poets are encouraged to share their work among supportive writers at Harborfields Public Library’s poetry reading. The program will run from 2–4 PM. Registration is not required; all are welcome.
August 12, Long Island Writers’ Guild: Join other writers at Book Revue for its monthly writing workshop. With a pen, paper, and imagination, you will be all set to participate in this informal two-hour session. The workshop is free and open to all. The workshop begins at 7 PM; all levels and genres welcome. Contact Book Revue with any questions.
August 18, Amateur Writers of Long Island: Join writers of all genres and abilities in the back room of Panera in Huntington Village from 1-6 PM to give and receive feedback.
August 20th, Readings Under the Tent: Meet local authors Michael Bobelian, Amy Giles, and Jeannie Moon at Melville’s Arboretum park. Hear the authors read from their work, sign books, and participate in Q & A sessions. The event is free, and begins at 6 PM. Book Revue is offering a 10 percent discount on works by Giles and Moon.
HuntingtonNow.com supports literacy efforts. If you have book-related information you’d like to share, email Molly Prep