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Essay winner buys books for new moms

Schalmont middle schooler Abigail Dunn recently donated a number of books to mothers-to-be taking part in a parenting program at Ellis Hospital.

The donation was part of a community service project funded by a General Electric grant Dunn was awarded in 2008 after submitting an essay with her proposal. General Electric sponsors an annual essay contest in which students must propose community service projects. Winners are awarded a $500 grant and a mentor from GE to help them carry out their vision.

Abby had a vision, so it was just a matter of sitting with her and walking through what we could do with our $500, said Dunn's GE mentor for the project Kim Warne, a human resources manager.

Warne said her role was mainly "just helping to focus on what was important to her, which was delivering a nice project to the families and figuring out what we could do with our financial constraints and our time constraints."

Warne said that Dunn mapped out the project and the timeline, figured out the budgeting even found where they could get the most for their money in terms of the purchasing and shipping of books.

"I just kind of pointed her in the direction and she ran with it," said Warne.

Dunn, who is an eighth-grader at Schalmont Middle School in Rotterdam, donated bags of books to moms-to-be participating in the Ellis Hospital's Bellevue Women's Care Center program Before Your Baby Basics, which provides expectant mothers with parenting education and support.

Among the donated books, Dunn included titles such as "Hugs and Kisses" and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?"

"I remember these two from when I was a baby, and then my cousins read them," said Dunn.

Books weren't all that were included in the bag. Dunn said she also wanted to give a gift that kept on giving.

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