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SMC book drive benefits area schools

Ashley Charnley | Monday, January 19, 2009

Saint Mary’s Office of Social and Civil Engagement (OSCE) held a book drive last month in cooperation with a program that senator Richard Lugar began to help improve literacy in Indiana.

“Giving children the proper tools will put them on track for a better education,” Lugar said in a press release. “Books provide that vital function. Reading with children is essential so that it may enhance their learning, challenge their imagination and open their eyes to new possibilities.”

The book drive ran from Dec. 11 to Jan. 9 and Olivia Barzydlo Critchlow, assistant director of OCSE and director of the College Academy of Tutoring (CAT) program helped bring the event to campus.

“A representative from Sen. Lugar’s office was visiting Saint Mary’s College to learn about the College Academy of Tutoring Program and told me about the senator’s book drive,” Critchlow said. “I thought it was a perfect event for Saint Mary’s to participate in.”

The event asked for gently used books that were geared toward infants through third grade students. Books were collected in the OSCE office on the second floor of the Student Center and other various places on campus.

The collected items will be delivered to Coquillard Primary Center, Lincoln Primary Center and Warren Primary Center, three title one schools the CAT program works with in the South Bend area.

Through the CAT program, students teach English, reading, and mathematics as well as being teacher assistants in English as a New Language (ENL) and Special Education classes. The students in the academy also help in the Read-to-a-Child and Pen Pals programs, in which Saint Mary’s students write to students at an area primary school.

“Along with the books that Saint Mary’s was able to collect, books from collection spots all over Indiana will be divided up to go to schools with children in need,” Critchlow said.

Saint Mary’s managed to gather 182 books over the course of the month during its first year of participating in the drive.

“Children should have at least one book of their own to read with a tutor or at home. With the great amount of need in our community, this is not always possible,” Critchlow said. “Each book that is collected will put us one step closer to achieving this goal and to helping the children of the South Bend community.”