Pacer Program

A partnership with the Camden County Police Department (Metro Division) and the Camden City Mayor’s Office to train police officers and members of the Mayor’s Congress to become BookMates readers for Camden City students. This PACER (Police & Congress Enjoy Reading) program was mentioned by President Obama when he addressed Camden during his visit in 2015, and he continues to make reference to the reading program with the police.


The BookMates Interfaith Literacy Program is a social justice program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey and the Catholic-Jewish Commission. The mission of BookMates is to provide a nurturing, one-to-one literacy experience for at-risk children that will encourage them to develop a love of reading and will provide them with a foundation to succeed in school and in life.


Since its inception in 1999, BookMates has worked to improve literacy skills by providing weekly one-to-one reading sessions with caring adult volunteers for more than 3,000 disadvantaged students in kindergarten through third grade. Many of these children are rarely read to at home and benefit greatly from the volunteers’ individualized attention. As they share the joy of reading, the volunteers also expose the children to a wide range of literature, expand their vocabulary, help improve their comprehension skills, and increase their motivation to read.


This partnership between the City of Camden, the Mayor’s Community Congress the Camden County Police Department Metro Division and JCRC’s BookMates, will match police officers and members of the Community Congress with kindergarten students in Camden City elementary schools.  


By working with the Camden County Police Metro Division and members of the Community Congress, it is our desire to provide these students not only with a specially trained reading partner but also with a mentor, role model, and trusted resource.