African American Leadership Society

Employees of Norfolk Southern and United Way spent the morning of Jan. 26 loading up two trucks for an important delivery. At-risk students at four Norfolk elementary schools were about to receive 1,200 new books and 500 backpacks. The four schools are affiliated with United for Children, a community collaborative of professionals passionate about removing barriers so that all children can succeed in school, in the workplace, and in life. A $20,000 grant from Norfolk Southern made the event possible. 

table with a dozen STEM books on it, in front of a dozen Jacox students and 6 adults, in Jacox Elementary Media Room, Welcome Norfolk Southern banner in background

Happy Jacox Elementary students show off their new books from Norfolk Southern and United Way.

The backpacks were filled with much-needed supplies. Norfolk Southern employees invested more than 80 hours stuffing them, as well as writing personal notes of encouragement inside each book. The donations will inspire Pre-K to 5th-grade students to excel at their STEM studies (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Increasing early childhood literacy, and helping children develop a love of reading are additional benefits of Norfolk Southern’s caring efforts.

Norfolk Southern happily going above and beyond

The deliveries came shortly after the conclusion of Norfolk Southern’s annual United Way Workplace Giving Campaign. Even though the corporation’s philanthropic employees had once again raised $1 million to help the community, they still wanted to do more.  

The donated items were presented to eager groups of children at PB Young, Sr. Elementary, Jacox Elementary, Chesterfield Elementary, and Tidewater Park Elementary. One happy Jacox student said, “This is the happiest day of my life! I love to read, and I can’t wait to read about my new friend, Lulu. My favorite part of this book is my special message from Norfolk Southern in the front flap that reads, ‘YOU are amazing!’ This makes me smile! Thank you, Norfolk Southern!”


Smiling Jacox Elementary student in pink shirt holding her new book sitting at a school desk

Jacox Elementary student loves her new book from Norfolk Southern and United Way.

books on table, some open showing bookplate inscriptions

Bookplates featured notes of encouragement from Norfolk Southern employees.

“This comes right from the heart,” said Dr. Jarrett Brunny, director of United for Children. “It is easy to see why we must continue to invest not only in services for children but in expanding their world and giving them opportunities to find their path. We are here because these are our neighbors, our partners, and our future.”

See more photos of the event at

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