Ever been locked up for reading the novel Where the Red Fern Grows? How about spending hours “behind bars” for donating The Outsiders? Try doing hard labor just for skimming OK or People magazine.
Although these ideas may seem slightly farfetched, no idea for a program seems too awkward or too boring for a good cause. For the students of the African American Association for Student Educators, the organization raised a book drive and social program for the purpose of building a multi-purpose library for the Washington Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh. A considerable amount of students came through to support AAASE by donating books and magazine publications to the Bragaw Activity Room.
According to AAASE Vice President Iwinosa Idahor, the organization and its mission statement was founded from students of the College of Education for the purpose of promoting service, education, and mentoring for students of color within the college. It was only fitting that the year long project would be formed to help out others in and outside of the N.C. State community.
“Out of our vision, we decided that we wanted to establish a library at the Washington Boys and Girls Club because we felt that we do not promote literacy as much as we should,” said Idahor, a senior in middle grades education.
“We decided that we wanted to establish a multi-purpose library for not only the Washington Boys and Girls Club, but also to Walnut Creek.”
The program was also co-sponsored by the resident advisors of Bragaw Residence Hall, according to Marquis McCollough, a junior in science education.
“We thought it was a good way to get the rest of the community involved and also different organizations in the African-American community,” said McCollough.
Several students participated in the book drive with the chance of winning a $25 prize donation to the organization of their choice to those who collected the most books. The members included McCollough; Kadeem Myrick, a junior in business management; and Paul Abrams, a junior in biological sciences. Abrams collected the most books with 41 in total, while Myrick came in second place with 40, and McCollough with 37. A maximum total of 250 books were projected for donation. On the night of the program, a total of 118 books and magazines were collected for donation.
Tracy Howard, a senior in chemical engineering, was one of the few who donated eight books to the program on that night. “I didn’t want the books, [and] it’s for a really good cause,” she said.
Though the program was significant in its cause, the Lockup for Literacy was also a fun social event for those that stopped by.
“It’s a very chill program. It wasn’t structured,” said Idahor. Some people stopped by the event to speak with other students, while others were playing pool or board games for fun. The hosts also played the movie Higher Learning during the program.
Michelle Harris, a senior in middle grades education with a concentration in language arts and social studies, felt that the less structured nature of the program was well needed.
“I think it attracts more people because a lot of times, formalities can turn people away,” said Harris. “But when you have a less formal setting, it takes away less attention away from us and more attention on the kids.”
The program ended up being a success in promoting literacy to both collegiate and non-collegiate students alike. With the addition of more books to be donated to the Washington Boys and Girls Club, the multipurpose library will hopefully provide the resources needed for every child and adult.