Books fill shelves in many American homes. But some homes, schools, and tutoring programs don’t have enough books to go around. That’s why the National Honor Society at St. Mary’s High School is joining with the local diocese and other area Catholic schools, as well as Monument Academy, St. Mary’s Youth Philanthropic Club and the Children’s Literacy Foundation, to hold its first book drive.
Robyn Cross, director of admissions for St. Mary’s High School and faculty adviser for NHS, thought the idea was a perfect representation of the NHS theme for the year, which is “Make a difference in our Catholic community.”
“The book drive is a chance for us to work with the diocese and the other Catholic schools in the area, as well as do something that benefits Catholic charities and our community as a whole,” Cross said.
The drive started Jan. 21 and will continue through March 1, which is Read Across America Day. While St. Mary’s is spearheading the drive, each school that is participating has a committee that is running the drive for that school. Cross said that two St. Mary’s students will go to each Catholic elementary-middle school to advise that school’s leadership group.
The schools are looking for donations of gently used books. The books that are collected will be given to local charities and organizations nationwide.
“We’re not asking anyone to do more than clean their house,” Cross said. “Everyone has books that are collecting dust that can be a blessing to someone else.”
While many of the receiving organizations most need children’s books, Cross said any and all books are welcome. She said, if needed, area thrift stores have agreed to let St. Mary’s trade in books written for adults for credit to buy children’s books.
The idea to have St. Mary’s do a book drive formulated after Cross talked to her daughter who is working with the Teach For America program in Las Vegas. Cross had also organized similar drives during her stint as a teacher at Pauline Memorial.
“My daughter mentioned that she didn’t have enough books, and it got me thinking,” Cross said. “Then I pitched it to the students and they loved the idea. Plus it was a chance to work with diocese; it was something we could all do together.”
And that is why the books will be distributed both locally and to alumni of St. Mary’s who are working in areas where the books can be of help. Some of the organizations locally that will benefit from the drive include Teen Court, Bright Star Dream, Life Network, and Fostering Hope. Then books will be sent to SMHS alumni who are working with organization such Teachers For America and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation.
As part of the book drive, St. Mary’s students will also be reading to students at the area schools who are participating. At the local Catholic elementary-middle schools those visits will happen during Catholic Schools Week, while they will happen on Read Across America Day, which is March 1, at the other participating schools.
The participating schools are: St. Mary’s High School, Ave Maria, Corpus Christi, Divine Redeemer, Pauline Memorial, St. Peter’s, St. John Neumann in Pueblo, and Monument Academy in Monument.
“Everyone’s excited about the book drive,” Cross said. “It’s our first one so we don’t really know what to expect but we’re hoping for big things.”
By Amy G. Partain
St. Mary’s High School