A modest idea will have a big payoff for hundreds of disadvantaged individuals in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.
Wanting to make reading more accessible for local children, Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa conceived the GW Children’s Book Drive, a service project sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of Government and Community Relations and the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service.
From January to March, bins were placed at different locations around the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses, where members of the GW community were invited to drop off their new or gently used books. The drive brought in a total of 679 books that will be donated to Books for America. Dr. Chalupa said he hopes the children's book drive will become an annual event at GW.
"I am very pleased with the book donations and monetary gifts this drive received from all across the GW community and hope that we will be even more successful next year,” he said.
Books for America is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., with a mission of promoting literacy, life-long learning and understanding by distributing donated new and used books and other forms of educational media to disadvantaged organizations and schools.
A constant, high-quality supply of books and other materials is needed to ensure continued interest in reading. Unfortunately, many low-income children and families do not have that kind of access. Books for America was created “to ensure that anyone who wants to read will have the tools to do so,” according to the organization’s website.
Recipients of the books from the GW book drive will include adult and youth literacy programs, public schools, charter schools, transitional homeless shelters and other organizations.
“We were thrilled with the success of the book drive, and we have sent the books to Books for America to be distributed in the D.C. area,” said Lauryn King, a junior in the Elliott School of International Affairs. Ms. King, an events program assistant in the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, led the project. “These books will help local D.C. children get up to or maintain reading level by continuing to practice their reading skills at home after school where many of them could not before.”