Local high school students collect over 5,000 books for YMCA

Last December, the Georgia Student Finance Commission challenged their four students to create and execute a community service project to help people in the local community.

After thorough research of the need in the community, Adrianna Carter, Junior Charles, Aziz Tody and Nia Terrell—students at Tucker High School— developed a book drive for the Wade Walker Family YMCA in Stone Mountain as the place where they could make the biggest impact.

Ebony Anderson, child care supervisor at the YMCA, started a reading corner during the holiday season. “I would bring some books and read to the children and give them an activity,” she recalled. “I kept rotating the same ones, and so when the idea for the book drive came to us, we could not have been happier.”

The students aimed to collect 500 books for the YMCA’s 20/20 academic and leadership program. “We planned a contest within the [GSFC] employees to create competition and inspire the teams to collect as many books as they could,” said Carter, who is a sophomore.

The contest, held in March, divided the 150 employees into 10 teams and created a competitive spirit with weekly progress reports and a publicly displayed “leader board.” Instilling the sense of competition, the book drive wound up collecting over 5,600 books for the YMCA and its mission to increase childhood literacy. The winning team of the book drive contest also earned $150 and an ice-cream social.

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“The reveal of the final number was amazing and overwhelming,” said Anderson, who will add the books to a rolling library which will be beneficial for the Y’s summer camps. “What is also exciting is that our kids [at the YMCA] also get to see a visual of their peers of doing something good for the community.”

The students understood the importance of their effort to give back to the worthwhile program and also learned about making an idea possible. “It was a huge project, and I personally have never been in charge of anything and this was a definite challenge,” said junior Tody. “It gave a sense of accomplishment and showed that you can do anything you put your mind to. And, the books will be a part of preparing children for successful lives.”

The four students are a part of a partnership program between the Georgia Student Finance Commission and Tucker High School called the Great Promise Partnership program. The Great Promise Partnership is a cooperative education program providing academic support, employment opportunities, life skills training, mentoring and other assistance needed to complete their high school education and be prepared for their next post-secondary step whether it is college, technical school, the military or work.

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