Hillsides Education Center: Librarian Sherri Ginsberg Receives La Rocca Award

Published : Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 7:34 AM

Sherri Ginsberg

In recognition of the dedication she brings to her profession and outstanding job performance, Sherri Ginsberg, Hillsides head librarian, was awarded the La Rocca Award by Sunair Children’s Foundation. Hillsides mission and overall goal is to prevent child abuse and provide comprehensive treatment and healing to children who have suffered severe trauma and emotional anguish while also restoring hope to vulnerable families. Under Ginsberg’s direction, Hillsides’ Lynn Angell Children’s Library is a warm, welcoming environment where vulnerable children, who are in foster care or have emotional challenges, receive encouragement, nurturing and motivation to pursue personal and academic interests.

“We hope that this award raises the status of your important work and motivates talented people such as you to remain in this field,” wrote Eva Goetz, the Foundation’s executive director, in a letter to Ginsberg.

Children with emotional challenges require activities that support their recovery and offer positive forms of expression. Ginsberg’s approach is to engage children in activities that are stimulating, creative, and sensitive to each child’s special needs.

“Sherri is keenly aware of every Hillsides child’s abilities and limitations and then provides materials intended to hold their interest,” said Laura Kelso, Hillsides director of community resources.

In addition to keeping the library’s collection vital and current, Ginsberg has developed an impressive and wide range of enrichment activities. All components of the library support reading and nurture an interest in books. A visiting poet can help a teenager tap into his or her feelings while a therapy dog offers a non-judgmental audience to a child who has trouble reading out loud. A celebrity author like Kristi Yamaguchi or Henry Winkler can excite the students and motivate them to read.

“The huge success of Hillsides Children’s Library as well as the academic achievements of the children, are attributed in large part to Sherri,” said Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer. “Her dedication to the children is demonstrated by her going above and beyond by providing individual reading lessons to students who read far below grade level, due to their learning disabilities.”

Ginsberg has extensive experience in managing children’s libraries in Durham, N.C. and East Brunswick, N.J. She received her master’s degree in library science from Rutgers University. She joined Hillsides in 2006 and shares her love of reading with the children.

“We are fortunate to have Sherri on our team of professionals who ensure quality service and care is provided to each child and family we serve,” said Costa. With support from grants by The Angell Foundation, Jelly Foundation, Los Angeles Times Family Fund and Carl E. Wynn Foundation, Hillsides is able to continue Lynn Angell’s legacy, who was the founder of the library.

This annual recognition is made through the generosity of family and friends of the late Jacqueline W. La Rocca who for many years was chairperson of the Women’s Division of the Sunair Children’s Foundation and a member of the board of directors. It is the foundation’s hope that La Rocca’s keen interest in the cause of children will be remembered through this memorial tribute in her honor, and that this award raises the status of individuals who work with children and motivates talented people to remain in the field.

Angell created the children’s library, leaving behind a legacy for all children at the charity. Through Ginsberg, Angell remains the unforgettable visionary behind the children’s library, where echoes of Angell’s storytelling voice will be heard throughout every Hillsides’ “Library Day” to come.

For more information, visit www.hillsideseducationcenter.org.

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