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“Story Time With Style” Book Drive

Bring your gently used children’s books to Writers & Books to be included in the “Story Time With Style” campaign.

-Partnership with local salons, barbershops encourages kids to read while they wait-

(Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren was joined by community partners today to announce “Story Time With Style” – a program designed to help increase recreational reading by offering children books in local beauty salons and barber shops. The announcement was made at Forte Styles Beauty Shop on Thurston Road in southwest Rochester.

“My hope for Story Time With Style is that boys and girls will associate waiting with reading and choose to do so whenever the opportunity presents itself,” said Mayor Warren. “Neighborhood beauty salons and barbershops are natural gathering places for young men and women – perhaps they will see the younger children reading in a comfortable setting and feel compelled to serve as literacy mentors. This is a community effort and I want to thank our partners for coming together to make this program possible.”

Recent data provided by the New York State Department of Education shows that only four percent of African-American students and three percent of Latino students are proficient in reading by the third grade. Data also shows that students who struggle by the end of third grade are 13 times less likely to graduate high school by the age of 19.

Ten participating shops throughout the city are hosting bookshelves constructed by youth members of The Woodshop of St. Michael, Inc., a ministry that offers life skills to urban youth through the art of woodworking. Lumber used to create the shelves was donated by William B. Morse Lumber Co., one of the oldest businesses in the Rochester area.

The shelves are filled with children’s books that have been provided by the following community partners: Shelley Matthews, Rochester Area Literacy Coordinator for the Rochester Public Library; Rochester Northwest Rotary; Dr. Leonard Brock, Director of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and the United Way of Greater Rochester; U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Starry Night Publishing; Rochester Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

“Reading is fundamental to childhood development,” said Monroe County Legislator Willie Lightfoot. “If we as professional barbers and cosmetologists can help develop the next business owner or leader through reading, then we have done this community a great service.”

Lightfoot is the owner of New Creations Unisex Barbershop on Jefferson Avenue and helped organize the initiative along with the Mayor and encouraged other business owners to sign on.

“Through all of United Way’s work with the Blueprint for Change and the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, we know that reading and literacy is essential to help kids build a foundation to do well in school and begin to break the cycle of poverty,” said Leonard Brock, Director of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative at United Way. “We’re proud to partner with the City of Rochester to make sure there are books available to local kids and their parents in convenient locations.”

“We at Morse Lumber are happy to be associated with the Story Time With Style initiative, said Vice President Pat Clancy. “Anything that can be done to encourage reading and fuel a passion for reading is an investment that will pay dividends for our entire community.”

Story Time With Style locations:

 Andre’s Unisex Salon, 881 Portland Ave.

 Arlene’s Unique Styles Beauty Salon, 983 Hudson Ave.

 Children’s Gallery, 1446 Dewey Ave.

 Forte Styles Beauty Shop, 517 Thurston Rd.

 Mass Appeal Barbershop, 515 East Main St.

 New Creations Unisex Barbershop, 647 Jefferson Ave.

 Ronnie’s Kids Kuts, 1274 N. Goodman St.

 Tatinan’s Unisex Salon, 1534 Dewey Ave.

 Top Notch Barbering, 970 South Clinton Ave.

 Wade and Me Barbershop, 1365 Culver Rd.

“Literacy efforts lead to better educational opportunities for our children, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and more jobs for our citizens,” said Mayor Warren.

Barbershop and salon owners interested in becoming a Story Time With Style site should visit For more information, contact Briana Chamberlain by phone at (585) 428-7223, or via email at