Giving back is a huge part of Springfield College’s philosophy, and the students are a huge part of this factor. A first-year seminar class is giving back by building community and success by holding a book drive for the Homer Street School, a local Springfield public school.
Homer Street School is one of many schools in the Springfield city area that doesn’t have all the aspects of a typical elementary school. It was deemed a Level 4 school, meaning the entire school, kindergarten through fifth grade, scored low on the MCAS. Level 4 is the lowest level of the scale.
According to Elvers, research shows that if a child isn’t at their grade level reading by grade three, they are never going to catch up.
The elementary school has been progressively getting better on the levels and should be getting to a higher one in the future. The one thing that stands out at Homer Street School is that they don’t even have a school library, and the teachers barely have enough books for the students to use.
“Out of 460 kids, they have about 83 families who are homeless. They [teachers] do as much as they can during the daytime to work with kids on literacy skills and things like that,” said Charlene Elvers, the co-professor of this first-year seminar class. “A lot of the kids go home and they don’t have an opportunity to practice at home because they don’t have books.”
Here is where the Springfield College students come in. The principal of Homer Street School has challenged the first-year seminar class to get a book for each student in the school, so they each have a book to take home with them.
“Our goal is to actually collect 500 books. Any extra books we collect we will give to the teachers,” Elvers said.
The class has been trying to reach out to different groups and people in the community to reach this goal. Books can range from a kindergarten level to a fifth-grade level and can be donated by anyone.
“I’m pretty sure we all wanted to do something good,” Jack Hauprich, a first-year student in this class, said. “Going to the school is kind of like taking a step back.”
Many schools, like the Homer Street School, don’t all have a lot of resources. Schools need books for progressive learning.
Throughout the year there are usually two book drives to donate to the neighborhood elementary schools. Book drop-offs are found at six different locations on campus including Babson Library, Cheney Hall, the Union and all of the first-year resident halls have a book drop-off.
By Dec. 7, the first-year seminar class hopes to be able to give each child at Homer Street a book. The book drive really does help neighboring schools and builds the community as a whole.
For more information, Meghan may be reached at mzimbler