In today’s technology-driven world, we remain committed to the printed page. We also believe in promoting literacy among children. Most recently, our Johnsonburg Mill in Pennsylvania sponsored a new reading room, the Domtar Learning Lounge, to support literacy and learning at the Johnsonburg Area High School.
Troy Wilson, the mill’s paper machine manager, approached the school about how the mill could support school programs. On the school’s project wish list was a reading room at the high school level.
“Domtar sponsored a Ben Carson Reading Room at the Johnsonburg Elementary School in 2012,” says Wilson. “It has been a big success, and as students moved to junior and senior high school, they missed having a place dedicated to leisure reading.”
Mill leaders and EarthChoice Ambassadors created a team of volunteers to help to make the room a reality. The team worked with Brock Benson, the school’s principal, and a group of students selected from the National Honor Society and student council.
The students created a plan to renovate space within the library to create a reading room, which they named the Domtar Learning Lounge. Company donations funded the project. Domtar volunteers and students removed old stacks of books from the library, replaced flooring and purchased couches, chairs, bean bags and two coffee tables.
We also made a donation to First Book that enabled the school to buy more than 450 books. In addition, we donated a few books that were printed on paper made at the Johnsonburg Mill as well as books that highlight Johnsonburg and mill history. To complete the lounge, the team displayed large aerial photos of the Johnsonburg Mill and the town to illustrate the special partnership the town and school have with the mill.
“Literacy is one of Domtar’s core corporate giving pillars, which is why it’s so natural for us to foster a love of reading,” says Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Heather Stowe. “This project not only helped us further promote our love for books but also showed the real desire younger generations have for the printed page.”
Jackie Lundy, Johnsonburg Mill administrative assistant, helped orchestrate this project and volunteered her time to make it a reality. “Being a part of this project was such a great opportunity,” says Lundy. “It was amazing to see just an idea on a wish list turn into a successful student-driven initiative. It is obvious these kids really wanted this space to call their own.”