More than 2,500 books provided to Buffalo students through Project Flight

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Every student at the Billingual Center School 33 in Buffalo will be going home with books today, after the Martin Luther King Jr. “Leaders are Readers” award ceremony.

“Being able to give them the books at home is wonderful because sometimes they can’t get to the library,” said Brianne Bellavia, Bilingual Center School 33 Literacy Coach.

Through Project Flight, 2,615 books and learning materials were donated to the school. It’s all part of an effort to boost literacy and make sure every child can read at grade level. For many of these students, English is not their first language.

“When I first came here I didn’t know English at all but then I was here and I learned. Now I really know how to speak it and very well,” said 8th grader Ineshka Alvarez.

“This school is bilingual it does things in English and Spanish, we have selected books very carefully for them both in Spanish and in English,” said Dr. Betty Cappella, Project Flight Co-Director.

Leaders at the Billingual Center School say they’ve had an influx of students from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and because of that enrollment is at an all-time high, at 600 students. Many of those students don’t know how to speak English or read it.

“In fact we got a new student today, this is how much they’re coming in,” said Bellavia.

Literacy Coach Brianna Bellavia says many students at the school read at low levels, and literacy is a huge focus in the classroom. She says today’s donation is a step in tackling illiteracy beyond it.

“They can read at home with their families and really learn the language, learn all the benefits of reading, and hopefully learn to enjoy it too,” said Bellavia. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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