The following article was submitted by guest poster Shana Burton and is a collaboration among other authors.
Most people had a favorite book growing up. Unfortunately, many of the children living in poverty do not have books in the home at all, much less a favorite one. After discovering that there is only one book per 130 school age children in low-income homes in Georgia, the Teaching as a Profession students at Hutchings College and Career Academy partnered with United Way of Central Georgia and the Alpha Rho chapter of Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority, Inc. to do something about it.
On Wednesday, December 20, the Hutchings students, United Way organizers, and the ladies of Alpha Rho held a holiday book drive to benefit the students at Barden, Buck Melton, and Jones Head Start centers. The students and sorority members read to children and delivered over 300 books. Gently used books were donated to the schools’ libraries, and every student in the four-year-old classes was given two brand new books to begin building their personal libraries.
“Most of my sorors are educators and my students tutor Bibb students in reading, so this was a project that was near and dear to our hearts,” says Teacher as a Profession instructor and Lambda Kappa Mu member Shana Burton. “We know how important literacy is in determining the academic success of students, so it was very important to us to put books in the hands of as many children as possible. Hopefully, it will spark a lifelong love of reading for those children.”
The Alpha Rho Chapter has made building capable readers and promoting independent, self-selected reading one of its community initiatives and plans to make the book drive an annual event.
“Creating lifelong readers doesn’t just happen,” says college program director and Lambda Kappa Mu member Lisa Solomon. “It takes a culture at home and in the community to help reach that goal. We want kids to read more and enjoy reading because reading builds vocabulary, fluency, and background knowledge. We’re building readers, one book at a time.” The book drive could not have been a success without the outpouring of support from the community. People as far away as New York and Washington, D.C., mailed in books and gift cards for book purchases. Stratford Middle School in Macon donated more than 600 books, and many churches, businesses, and community organizations also made donations.
The sorority is planning to hold another book drive during Children’s Book Week in May to benefit students from pre-K to 12th grade in Bibb County.