Group looks to turn the page on illiteracy



By Zach Walton

A new group on campus is aiming to end illiteracy, one baby at a time.

Books for Babies, a recently-formed student organization, is hosting a fundraiser Monday to combat illiteracy by putting books in the hands of every baby born in Lexington and encouraging parents to read to their children.

Six students thought of the idea for Books for Babies in their Emerging Leaders Institute class during their freshman year.

Public service and leadership sophomore Tatum Dale was one of the students who created Books for Babies.

“One of the class requirements was to create a program,” Dale said. “The program had to incorporate values, education and family.”

After the class ended, some of those originally involved kept the idea for Books for Babies alive. They found a sponsor in Save4Missions, a group dedicated to helping local missions and charity organizations save money by providing inexpensive resources.

The partnership allows the group to pursue its goal of providing books to children across Lexington.

“It’s important to give back to your community,” Dale said. “There’s a correlation between having books in the home and a child’s performance in school.”

The group’s future goals include a book drive in the fall, and writing a book to give to children and parents.

“It’s an important but overlooked fact that reading to your child is important in battling illiteracy,” Dale said. “Our long-term goal is to give a book to every baby born in Lexington alongside information to parents telling them about the importance of reading to their children.”

Books for Babies will be outside of the Student Center Starbucks on Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The group will have computers set up to become fans of their group on Facebook. Save4Missions donates money for each fan added.

Dale said each person joining the organization’s Facebook page and invites friends will get a coupon for a free waffle at Waffle House, along with the chance to win an Apple iPad.

Those interested in joining Books for Babies are also encouraged to show up on Monday or Tuesday and ask for information.

Dale said she hopes students will stop by because the group makes it simple to be involved in their goal.

“It’s easy — it takes five seconds to give back to your community,” Dale said.