Volunteers to fill a library with volumes

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THE QUEENS COURIER PHOTO BY JOHN CABALLEROBrian Ceballos, 16, left, along with other volunteers who are collecting books outside of the Librer’a Barco de Papel building.
Brian Ceballos, 16, left, along with other volunteers who are collecting books outside of the Librer’a Barco de Papel building

Brian Ceballos found a worthy cause he could help when one his teachers announced that volunteers were needed to help equip a library in a school in a Caribbean country or the Dominican Republic.
Ceballos, who was born in New York and spent eight years in Mexico, is a 16-year-old Flushing High School senior.
He jumped at the opportunity to help gather books for the library of a school named Rafaela Jiminian in the city of Santiago, in the Dominican Republic. Ceballos worked obsessively at fundraising events and campaigns to collect money to buy books. A group the he belongs to, Club Aspires, has also supported his cause.
“I remember that it was a Friday when the teacher spoke to us about this project and during the weekend I researched the school, the city and the students’ need to have a library with books that they could consult,” said Ceballos.
The school was built with funds from the Japanese government and has 17 classrooms providing both primary and secondary grades. However, the library is still empty, awaiting donations for books.
For the past two months, Ceballos has worked closely with one of his classmates, Martha Snchez. She is originally from Colombia and shares Brian’s motivation to help the school.
The pair has demonstrated a good deal of leadership in promoting this international project and has motivated many other students to participate. Together, Ceballos and Snchez contacted the Institute Cervantes in Manhattan and obtained a donation of three boxes of books, as well as a collection of dictionaries and 20 volumes of the Hispanic Encyclopedia.
“At this moment we are organizing the books to be sent to the Dominican Republic so the students could receive them as soon as possible,” Ceballos said.
Other help the young volunteers received was a donation from the bookstore Barcos de Papel. This company donated 500 books, including several copies of the latest edition of the Harry Potter series.
“The goal is to be able to send the largest quantity of books possible. I would like to deliver them in person, but unfortunately there are financial restrictions,” Ceballos said.
Ceballos said he is motivated by this project to continue raising funds in the future to provide help to other libraries in need.
He is also hoping to expand on just books by obtaining secondhand or older computers that could be used by students of poorer schools in other nations.
“I would like to support the children of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru and any schools that need educational resources. In Mexico, there is a great need and I would love to be able to help. My father was born in San Marcos Arteaga, in the state of Oaxaca and it is very poor there,” Ceballos said.
He hopes to be able to establish a foundation that would perform social work on a global scale. “My parents and my two little sisters have always supported me in what I do and in the plans that I have,” Ceballos said.
In his spare time, Ceballos reads Shakespeare, as well as Latin-American authors like Gabriel Garcia Mrquez, who won a Nobel Prize in literature.
He plans to study law and specialize in immigration issues so that he will be able to help his community in the future.

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