March 3, 2014

NYC first-grader collects books for homeless kids


Blake Ansari

Blake Ansari

Hope everybody’s ready to feel unaccomplished, because six-year-old Blake Ansari is already outpacing most of us when it comes to charitable efforts.

Sarah Goodyear writes for Atlantic Cities that the young New Yorker has taken it upon himself to collect books to donate to homeless children. Ansari started to become aware of what it means to be homeless over this winter, through his fathe Nuri Ansari, who does work developing prgrams for the homeless, and his mother Starita Boyce Ansari, who used a New York Times story about a homeless girl as a teaching tool for Blake.

A student at the Metropolitan Montessori School on the Upper West Side, Ansari felt compassion for kids who have to live in shelters, and was particularly struck by the fact that they wouldn’t have anything to read. “That means they don’t have a library,” he pointed out to his mother; he soon decided that he wanted to start a collection of children’s books to give to a shelter in time for Valentine’s Day.

Ansari’s mother has been his biggest supporter and spokesperson for his project; she helped him find a shelter that would participate in the donation drive, the PATH emergency shelter in the Bronx. All told, Ansari’s drive collected about 600 books, many of them from fellow students, as well as a large donation from family friend of the Ansaris Bob Gore; and city council member Helen Rosenthal’s office led the charge to collect more from people and organizations on the Upper West Side.

Despite the success of the book drive, Ansari says that he still hopes to make his initial impulse — a library for homeless children — a reality.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.