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Student hosts book drive to benefit Center for Homeless

Cailin Crowe | Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Senior Bridget Meade looks to harness the power of the written word, fighting poverty with the power of fairytales and nursery rhymes.

Meade is hosting a book drive at Saint Mary’s to create a preschool library at the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

“Reading can be both enjoyable and powerful. Education is such a great way to fight poverty, and reading is one of the best ways to educate children,” she said.

Meade is the founder of Mommy and Me, a literacy class at the Center. The program encourages and teaches parents to read to their children. The library will be made available to both the students in her class and other guests at the Center, she said.

Meade said she was inspired to create this class because of her own love of reading.

“Reading was such a huge part of my childhood that I thought it was a tragedy that some kids aren’t being read to,” she said.

Reading is a beneficial activity for both children and parents living in poverty, Meade said. The Mommy and Me class will help parents learn to enjoy reading to their children.

“Many parents in poverty were not read to as children, which makes it uncomfortable for them to read to their own children,” she said.

The Mommy and Me class teaches parents reading to infants and toddlers is a powerful activity, benefitting a child’s cognitive development and overall life trajectory, Meade said.

Some parents living at the Center are illiterate and too uncomfortable to read to their children, she said. The preschool library will provide illiterate parents picture books.

Those parents can still read and interact with their children by creating stories based off the illustrations, she said, something crucial to their maturation.

“Reading to preschoolers is about helping them interact and hear words that will help with their cognitive development,” Meade said.

Meade said preschoolers enjoy classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes the most.

“The best books to donate are the old school classics,” she said.

Books will be accepted at a drop box in LeMans Hall through the end of the year, or contact Bridget Meade with questions about the book drive at bmeade01@saintmarys.edu.

Contact Cailin Crowe at ccrowe01@saintmarys.edu