Program seeks to combat illiteracy with book drive

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Students from Unified We Serve organize the children and young adult books that were donated to their book drive Tuesday afternoon. The book drive will be set up daily on the Matador Walk from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. through April 15. (Hannah Pedraza / Photo Editor).

The Unified We Serve volunteer program at CSUN will be holding a book drive from April 12-15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day and will be located in front of the Oviatt Library.

“We’re out here holding a campus-wide book drive for literacy,” said Justin Weiss, coordinator for Unified We Serve. “We are collecting books for kids who are in grades K-12, as well as intro level college books.”

The book drive is being held in preparation for the upcoming Literacy Fair on Saturday, April 24, at the El Caminito school in Sun Valley.

“Unified We Serve and JumpStart, an AmeriCorps National Service Program, are collaborating to host a Literacy Fair,” said Weiss. “All members of the community are welcome to attend the Literacy Fair. CSUN clubs and organizations will be creating theme-based booths such as reading to kids, face-painting and scrabble competitions.”

In addition, Weiss explains there will be many booths for all ages so that every community member who attends will benefit.

“CSUN students who are working the booths will promote the value of pursuing higher education,” said Weiss. “Furthermore, the books collected at the campus book drive will be given directly to the youth who attend the Literacy Fair. Instead of donating the books to a donation bin, CSUN volunteers will be able to experience the person-to-person interaction.”

According to Weiss, Unified We Serve is a nationally awarded university program founded on the mission of unifying students, faculty and staff in solidarity to provide the greatest amount of service and resources to our community.

The program also works closely with the Lambda Sigma Gamma sorority, and many of its members can be seen volunteering their time.

“I think that a lot of Greek organizations don’t help out as much as they should,” said Gabby Medina, 20, Lambda Sigma Gamma member. “I think that a group like this can make a greater impact in our community rather than as individuals.”

In addition, Medina, a business law major, recognizes the impact that it will not only have on the volunteers, but also on the children that they will be aiding.

“We’re going to provide young children with books that they don’t necessarily have access to,” said Medina. “It will teach them to broaden their skills in reading, writing and vocabulary.””

Fellow Lambda Sigma Gamma member, Erin Ulrich, 22, also devotes her time to the organization in order to benefit the community.

“I believe that Unified We Serve is a very good outreach program to get involved in,” said Ulrich, consumer affairs major. “It is a unique group, and I have come to realize that there aren’t a lot of other organizations like this.”

Both Medina and Ulrich agree that they feel as though they are benefiting the community as a whole by volunteering with Unified We Serve.

“It’s just such a great opportunity and good use of time to help out,” said Medina. “It’s like that old saying, you have to be the change in the world that you want to see.”

If you would like to get involved, please contact Unified We Serve at UnifiedWeServe@csun.edu.


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