SELF donates over 5,600 books to students

Published 12:39 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

SELF, or Support. Empower. Learn. Fun., is an organization at Longwood University that is making strides to help the community.

The organization, established two years ago, has collectively served over 1,000 volunteer hours in the community. 

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There are only about 10 members in the group. Their most recent service project was providing over 5,600 books to Prince Edward Elementary School students.

“The mission of SELF is to provide fun, educational and positive experiences to children and families in and around Farmville,” said Alison Roberts, a rising Longwood senior in the Cormier Honors College, who is studying elementary education.

Roberts has served as president and vice president of the organization.

According to Roberts, the group held small book collections over the past few semesters, receiving about 100 books from Longwood students and staff.

“We had the idea to try to buy a book for each of the almost 900 students at Prince Edward Elementary. When we told people about our project, they were really excited and generous,” she said.

According to Roberts, three groups were essential in the project’s success. Lakewood Manor, a retirement community in Richmond, donated 500 books; Ed Winfree, with Integrity Data Solutions, raised enough money to buy more than 2,400 books; and Lise LeLisio and Kate Gabriel collected over 300 books from the Richmond Academy of Medicine Alliance.

By the end of their book drive, the group was able to give every student at Prince Edward Elementary School four books to keep and hundreds more to classroom bookshelves. They also donated several hundred books to the high school library, said Roberts.

According to Roberts, the group is not currently working on any projects as Longwood is out for summer break.

In addition to providing the community with books, the group has also held school supply collections, fundraisers for FACES and provided tutoring at the elementary school.

They have also done programs with the Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library and Buckingham’s parks and recreation department.

According to Roberts if people want to help, the best thing to do is contact the schools. “They know what supplies they are in the most need of,” she said.