Organizations receive 1000 books through Common Reading Experience

First- and Second-Year Experience, in partnership with Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society and the Common Reading Experience Student Organization (CRESO), would like to thank the NIU community for helping to collect 1,148 books for “The Storybook Project,” a service project connected with the 2015-2017 Common Reading Experience (CRE) and Sophomore Days of Service.

The Storybook Project, organized by Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, allows incarcerated parent/grandparents to record themselves reading donated books. The recording, along with the book, are then sent to their child/grandchild. This helps build a connection between inmates and their loved ones while they are separated. Of the books donated, 535 of them went towards the Storybook Project.

Due to wear and tear, not all of the donated books could be used for the project. In order to ensure that books did not go to waste, organizers found homes for the additional books. First- and Second-Year Experience worked with Liam Buchanan, vice president of Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society to donate 515 of those books to Hope Haven, a local DeKalb homeless shelter.

The remaining 98 books, which had extensive damage to either the binding, pages, or cover, were donated to Camp Power, a summer program for children dealing with poverty, lack of opportunity and safety issues in the University Village housing development. Alexis Massman, president of the Common Reading Experience Student Organization and former Camp Power counselor, suggested that these books be used for a literary craft project to promote reading skills among the campers. This project would include cutting apart the damaged books allowing children to create their own stories through a collage activity. After contacting Nancy Prange and Lesley Feyerherm from Camp Power, it was determined that a craft day will be planned and organized to take place this summer.

For more information, visit the First- and Second-Year Experience website, call (815) 753-0028 or email fsye@niu.edu. Next year’s CRE book will be “Make Your Home Among Strangers,” by Jennine Capó Crucet.

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