Monday, February 17, 2014
Reading children’s books is something many youngsters in the United States take for granted. Classrooms, libraries, even home bookshelves are filled with countless options for youngsters to read. In the African nation of Liberia, however, books are not as readily accessible. But thanks to a generous donation organized by students and staff at Rider University, a group of Liberian children now have many more options for their reading pleasure.
Dr. Sharon Sherman, dean of Rider University’s School of Education, says the need for the children’s books was originally brought to her attention by Rider alum Nathalie Ejiogu-Smart ’12, who had recently visited Liberia to do some pro-bono work in mental health counseling. Ironically, Sherman learned through a current student, who was student teaching at the time, that the school’s library was looking to donate about 1,500 children’s books to a worthy cause.
Putting two-and-two together, Sherman worked with the Rider Student Education Association to assemble, package and ship this generous donation half way around the world.
“Sending these books to Liberia so children can have a library will be meaningful to the greater community there,” Sherman says.
That seemed to indeed be true when the Acting Mayor of Paynesville, Liberia, Cyvette C.M. Gibson, emailed Sherman to express her gratitude for the book donation.
In her message Gibson said she had the opportunity to visit Thomas Fallah Institute of Vocational Education where the books were donated. She wrote, “This school has early education from K-2 to the 11th grade. It was a wonderful experience. The founder and CEO of the school was elated. I read one of the books in (a class). Thank you for making such an educational and social impact on the city of Paynesville.”
As it turns out, this small gesture turned out to have great rewards.