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FIRST FIDELITY JOINS WITH CRAMP SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY GROUPS TO CREATE COMMUNITY READING CENTER IN EASTERN NORTH PHILADELPHIA

 PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A ground-breaking ceremony today marked the start of construction to transform a former crack house into a children's library in eastern North Philadelphia.
 When completed this spring, the Cramp Community Reading Center will serve the children of the William Cramp Elementary School and the surrounding community.
 The reading center is the result of a joint effort by the school, the Rainbow Square Coalition Against Drugs, Philadelphia Rehabilitation Plan (PRP) and First Fidelity Bank. First Fidelity is providing funding that will enable PRP to create a library, community center and garden from an abandoned, fire-damaged row house at 3424 N. Mascher St. and five adjacent vacant lots.
 "This collaboration is part of an overall strategy to revitalize the neighborhood and the most visible example of a comprehensive approach by the business sector to support a local school," said Roland K. Bullard, II, president of First Fidelity Bank, Pennsylvania. "We believe that effective support requires addressing the totality of the children's environment, and not just the six hours a day spent in school."
 While First Fidelity is funding construction, operating capital has been raised by the school and community. Led by Principal Gaeton Zorzi, school children, parents and teachers held bake sales and other fundraisers and applied to local foundations for grants. When completed, the reading center will be staffed with parent volunteers provided by the Rainbow Square Coalition Against Drugs.
 "Thanks to the leadership of Gaeton Zorzi and the cooperation of community and non-profit groups, the Cramp Community Reading Center will soon be filled with books and children," Bullard said. "We are proud to be part of this project and to work with so many fine people dedicated to the welfare of our children."
 First Fidelity adopted the Cramp School in 1988 under the school district's Adopt-a-School Program. As part of this program, the bank sponsors school assembly programs and the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) book distribution program. First Fidelity employees participate in a variety of school events including "Love-a-Book Week," Career Day, RIF book distributions and Cramp Family Day. In addition, First Fidelity has provided funding to the Philadelphia Youth Corp to remove graffiti and paint the school's exterior and to the Children's Literacy Initiative for reading programs at two day care centers whose children will later attend Cramp School.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/12/94
 /CONTACT: Barbara Nate, 215-985-7003, or Rocco Casciato, 215-985-8723, both of First Fidelity/


CO: First Fidelity Bank; William Cramp Elementary School ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

JO-MJ -- PH016 -- 0997 01/12/94 13:15 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 12, 1994
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