Maya Angelou once said that “Any book that helps a child form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” Without encouragement to read, some children may grow up never knowing the joy of becoming lost in a good book. To foster this growth, the senior Waynesburg University Bonner Scholars recently donated 400 contemporary children's books to the Reading Clinic, an annual spring event hosted by the Department of Education for local children.
To complete the project required by each Bonner Scholar class, students must identify a need in the community by impacting and educating the members. For Leeann Danley, a senior Bonner Scholar and elementary special education major, the need was obvious.
Observing how empty the shelves were in the Reading Clinic, Danley proposed that for their project, the senior Bonner Scholars should raise money and purchase books to contribute to the cause. Her classmates were quick to agree, due to the impact of the donation.
“I was astonished by the response that I received for this project,” Danley said. “So many of the senior Bonners understood the need and took action.”
For several weekends in October and November 2011, the senior Bonner Scholars collected monetary donations from patrons at Walmart and Giant Eagle. As they were collecting the gifts, they were able to tell the community members about the need for a literacy program and the need for the books.
Through their efforts, more than $1,000 was raised. With this money, the group scattered to different libraries and book stores in the area to purchase a variety of books. They attempted to find multiple copies to give to children who participate in the clinic. In total, 400 books were added to the Reading Clinic library.
Dr. Fran Boyd, associate professor of education and director of the Reading Clinic, appreciates the additional books and the continued support of her dream.
“At the clinic, we give the children tutorial skills, but we also teach them to learn to love it,” Boyd said. “In a world of distractions, we want them to pick up a book.”
Each book is marked with a label indicating that it belongs to the Reading Clinic, but an additional insert was included to honor the students that worked diligently to provide for the community. A thank you to the senior Bonner class is visible to all who read the donated books.
Debra Clarke, chair of the department of education, thanked the students profusely for their generous support.
“Their generous donation of many, many new books for the clinic is a wonderful gift and legacy,” Clarke said. “Long after they leave Waynesburg University, children in this community will be reading the books that they have donated. The gifts will help others learn to teach and will help others learn to love to read.”