Trenton New Jersey is a place where ideas and events that change the world spring to life – often snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The America of today was born on a cold winter day in Trenton against all odds by the unflinching will of George Washington. Terracycle, an early friend of MagazineLiteracy.org, was founded by Tom Szaky on the premise of turning worm waste into liquid fertilizer sold in recycled soda bottles, and now upcycles millions of consumer packages collected from schools and stores into new products for homes and industries. Martin Johnson and David Schrayer at the Isles eco-community development initiative are undaunted by their near decade-long quest to transform an abandoned century-old mill with a rich civil rights history into a vibrant shared community space – a crucible for collaboration and the collision of important ideas to empower people to change their lives for a better future.
MagazineLiteracy.org has assembled over a million reading materials for literacy at the Isle’s Mill One location, creating the largest open literacy market on the planet.
This is where I met Jacque Howard for the first time – a man with boundless energy, intense confidence, and big transformational ideas about improving the community he loves and human lives here. Every journey, no matter how grand or far, begins with the courage to take a first step against unknown terrain. Jacque, a citizen of the world and founder of Trenton365 is an unstoppable kindred spirit who iMAGines things the way they can be and makes them so. Recently, he eyed hundreds of empty corner news boxes and imagined each as a library box of reading materials in his city where only half of high school students graduate. He has partnered with the wonderful Classic Bookstore in downtown Trenton to make this dream come true. We look forward to supporting this great idea by stocking the libraries with magazines for all ages and interests. Hear more about our meeting with Jacque during this Trenton365 interview with MagazineLiteracy.org founder John Mennell and mentor Melanie Spence-Ayar.
Melanie was joined by her family this weekend with Central New Jersey literacy champion Marie Halder and many wonderful volunteers to sort magazines for area literacy programs.
MagazineLiteracy.org opened its first food pantry newsstand in Trenton many years ago thanks to warm hearts and open arms of those like Lorraine Smith willing to embrace a fledgling idea. Since then, literacy newsstands have been opened in food pantries and shelters, and youth mentoring and job training programs across the U.S. and around the world. With the faith and friendship of angels like Jacque and so many others, this is where we light a flickering candle against the darkness to march together into every corner of the world to end the illiteracy that feeds poverty.
Godspeed Jacque Howard – Godspeed.