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Book drive supports local reading program

by Kris Fronzak, News Editor

The women of Delta Theta Psi surprised both the participants and leaders of Lincoln Way Reads program last week with a donation of $300 and 724 elementary-level books. Half of the books were already labeled and leveled to determine the appropriate audience.

Lincoln Way Reads is a program funded by individual donors and the Noble Foundation. Volunteers donate anywhere from one weekly 45 minute session to multiple sessions to help an elementary school child practice reading. Most volunteers are selectively placed with a certain student, giving the program a “mentoring” feel.

The books were collected as a New Member Education project for the sorority, which currently has almost 50 members. During the two weeks of new member education and in the weeks following, the 18 women in the pledge class worked tirelessly to collect books. They distributed large collection boxes around campus, advertised the event in WHN, the Pot and on Facebook, and tabled to work on fundraising.

“We spend a lot of time [at Lincoln Way] and wanted to give back,” explained Yassi Davoodi ’11. Davoodi, who came up with the idea, has been working with the reading program for three years.

“I’ve read the same books here year after year,” said Davoodi. “This seemed very doable, and a tangible way to give back.

“I had no idea what to expect. It completely exceeded our expectations.”

After some of the initial books were collected, Loni Ben-Zvi ’13 organized a “leveling party” to label the books, which determines which books are proper for different children to read. It took 15 girls six hours to label 398 books ó a feat that saved the program coordinator hours of labor.

Lorraine Boreman, the program coordinator for almost a decade, couldn’t have been more pleased with the contribution.

“This sorority has been volunteering with Lincoln Way Reads for three or four years. Oftentimes sororities don’t get the positive recognition they deserve for what they do,” said Boreman. “Five or 10 years from now, children will still be reading these books. This is a gift that lasts a long time.”

“I’m thinking about filling my bookshelves to the brim,” Boreman stated, adding that the children were going to love the increased variety.

“I have some very low readers in the program,” she stated. “Usually only half of them come up to grade level by the end of the year.”

Some of the determination behind the book drive came from respect for Boreman, Davoodi explained.

“She’s been a phenomenal program organizer. She’s so compassionate and cares about the kids so much,” Davoodi said.

Students at Lincoln Way Elementary School attend the lowest socioeconomic school in the district, a fact that contributes to the difficulty of providing children with education outside of the classroom.

“Coming here just twice a week really shows you the privilege of a quality education,” said Miriam Wise ’11.

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