Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards 2019 Part 1

In this two-part special, Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 23rd Annual Russ Berrie ""Making a Difference"" Awards where he talks with the honorees about the important work they are doing in their communities.

Guests Include:

Alexa Grabelle, Founder and President, Bags of Books
Patrick Finn, Brett DiNovi and Associates
Michael Doliszny, Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award’s Honoree
Thomas von Oehsen, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Trenton Circus Squad
Katherine Evans, NJ Forest Watch and Friends of Sparta Mountain
Suzann Bresler Goldstein, Founder, The Valerie Fund
Bridget Cutler, Founder and Executive Director, Moms Helping Moms

7/31/19 #2234






"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. We're on location at Ramapo College. It's the 23rd Annual Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award Ceremony. I've been proud to host this event. MC it. But way more important than that is you're about to see, in this half hour special... It's a two part special, check tonight out, and tomorrow night, after this. You're about to see some extraordinary people who are the winners of the Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference. Unsung heroes. They save lives. They work in the community. They protect our environment. They work for, and help those, who are underprivileged, who are struggling, and just looking for a little help. This is the 23rd Annual Russ Berrie Awards for Making a Difference. We are proud to be a small part of a huge event. [applause] Come on up folks! [applause] This is Alexa Grabelle. Who is the founder of an organization called Bags of Books. Which is? It's a literary service organization, which has collected and donated over 152,000 children's books to 30,000 underserved children. Primarily in Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But also throughout the country. So check this out. Alexa started this in the 5th grade. Talk about leadership. Student leadership. What did you see, Alexa, back in the 5th grade? I don't know, I guess you were eleven years old, per se? About that, right? Ten years old. Ten years...? Yeah. Ten? What do you see that says to you, "I have to do this"? So, I live about 15 minutes from Camden, New Jersey. Which is one of the most impoverished communities in America. And my elementary school did different service projects to benefit the schools in Camden, such as gift donations during the holiday season. When I learned that students in Camden, New Jersey don't have access to books at home, and I learned about the educational Summer slide, which is when you lose literacy skills over the Summer, I knew I had to make a difference, because I love reading, and I have a personal library of books of my own at home. So I wanted to share that gift with as many students as possible. The growth of your organization has been extraordinary. Talk about it. So I've had incredible opportunity to go to many different networking events and to really make connections within my community and beyond. And I've used those connections in order..."