Trinity, DHS seniors hold children's book drive
Twelve high school seniors in the volunteer group Leadership Dickinson recently completed a project, in which they collected hundreds of books for area children.
DICKINSON — Leadership Dickinson, which is an eight-month program run by the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, aims to inculcate strong values centered on philanthropy and civic leadership among the city’s high school seniors before they move on to the next chapter of their lives.
Books can open a jungle full of adventure, creativity and cognitive expansion for young minds. Yet, some less fortunate children lack access to these windows of opportunity. So this month, the group took on the mission to boost reading skills among area youth.
“We brainstormed through a lot of ideas, but this one came up because we noticed that there are many children throughout our community who were lacking basic literacy skills,” Trinity Catholic High School senior Brooklyn Berger said. “All of us had positive experiences reading as children. We wanted to share our love for reading and love for education, and help promote that throughout the community.”
Twelve young women in the group — seven from Trinity and five from Dickinson High School — decided this was a perfect time for the project, as February is national "I Love to Read Month." At the start of the month, they began collecting children's book donations at the local high schools and the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re just ending the project now. Although all of us in this group will be graduating, I think it’s something that we can continue in the future throughout the years to come,” Berger said.
They just began the process of delivering these books to the organizations distributing them, Head Start and the Dorcas Society, but are still accepting donations. Berger said the donation drive was smashing success, estimating that they collected more than 200 books — each of which had personal touch. Some of the books included "One Duck Stuck", "Barn Cat" and "Starting Cursive."
“We didn’t count but we had at least a few bins full, as well as some more bags that we collected from the school,” she said. “In each of the books, we wrote a message in there so it’s personalized for the kid who gets to read it.”
Berger is active in several extracurricular activities at Trinity including choir, cheerleading and student congress. She plans to double major in business communications and Catholic studies, while minoring in psychology at the University of St. Mary in Bismarck next year.
City Commissioner Suzi Sobolik, one of the program directors for Leadership Dickinson , said the girls did a fantastic job on the project.
“It’s been a great partnership with Head Start and the Dorcas Society,” Sobolik said.
Being read to and reading consistently at a young age has been shown to improve a child’s memory, comprehension and critical thinking skills. According to Jessica Logan, an early childhood education researcher at Ohio State University, children who read one book a day with their parents will reach age 5 having heard 290,000 more words than peers who did not experience regular at-home reading.
“Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school,” Logan said .