Students at Penn State Brandywine collected more than 3,000 children's books during the month of October and donated them to Philadelphia READS, a non-profit supporting children's literacy in Philadelphia.
Senior human development and family studies major Annie Gallagher is president of the campus' Undergraduate Research Club, which sponsored the book drive in the hopes of providing books to children who can't normally afford them.
"We should be so proud of the difference we have made," Gallagher said. "This project shows how the collective efforts of many can impact and benefit our community. I feel that our efforts and donations have impacted the lives of so many children already, and that our continued efforts will not go unnoticed by little hearts eager to learn how to read."
The project was conceived over the summer, when Gallagher and a few of her peers participated in a reading group with Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Jennifer Zosh.
"We examined research on e-readers and regular books and the effectiveness of each on teaching a child how to read," Gallagher said. "Through this discussion, we learned how important it is for children to hold a book, flip through its pages and actively engage within the story. However, we also learned how scarce books are within low-income neighborhoods and school districts. Ultimately, this is where the idea for the Penn State Brandywine Children's Book Drive began."
Gallagher partnered with Philadelphia READS to ensure that the books would find their way to libraries, teachers and reading corners in the area to build libraries for children in the community. She also reached out to a local nutrition club, Fierce NEWtrition, which donated hundreds of books to the cause.
On October 23, Philadelphia Reads Assistant Director Amy Purdy and Program Director Sarah Farbo visited the campus to collect the books and meet with students.