WAYNE, N.J. – When Isabella Galan of Wayne learned children in Paterson were in need of books, the 12-year-old decided to enlist her friend’s help and start a donation drive.
“We just wanted to help other people more than anything,” said Galan, a sixth grader at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Wayne.
Galan and her friend Vanessa Wolf set up donation boxes at school and Wayne Town Hall. Galan said she also handed out fliers to family, friends and her dance team, and Wolf set up a donation box at her father’s office.
Together with the assistance of some more friends, the girls obtained over 2,000 books. Last week they donated them to New Roberto Clemente Middle School and School 15 in Paterson.
Galan holds the title of International Junior Miss New Jersey Pre-Teen 2017.
“Being able to give back is really one of the main reasons I do pageantry,” she said.
“I am so proud of her. She is a very mature, very sweet young girl and she loves the leadership role,” said Isabella’s mother Maria Galan, adding that when Isabella embarks on a project “she likes to invite other people to do it with her.”
Isabella’s 8-year-old sister Victoria – who also holds a title for the International Junior Miss Pageant -- also helped with the book drive.
“She looks up to her sister, and everything that Bella is involved in, she wants to be involved in,” their mother said.
Isabella, Victoria and Jordan Sanchez, another title holder, also spoke to students at New Roberto Clemente School about confidence and the importance of reading.