Student volunteers handed out used books to high school kids in foster care at the Literacy Event at Celebration Orientation at Pasadena City College on April 29.
The Book Club collected almost 150 used books in the library earlier in the week to donate to the Book Truck nonprofit for the event, Book Club President Rachel Seplow ’17 said.
According to their website, the Book Truck is a mobile program that helps to provide books and “create a chance of a pathway out of poverty” by empowering teens in underserved communities in Los Angeles.
“The Book Truck is a phenomenal organization, and they work extremely hard to help teens in the LA area have the opportunity to own their own books,” Seplow said. “Reading books has been one of my favorite pastimes ever since I was little. I think that it is important for everyone to be able to experience stories outside of their own lives.”
Book Club member Diego Ayala ’18 said having access to books is especially beneficial for those in underserved communities because the impacts of reading are universal.
“Reading, unlike other forms of learning and thinking, fosters independence in the reader,” Ayala said. “It’s all about the interaction between the person and the text. Having books means having the opportunity to form your own opinions and way of seeing the world while relating them to those of others.”
The literacy event helped student volunteers gain a new perspective on privilege and their ability to have access to books, Book Club Vice President Kat Edmiston ’17 said.
“We gave so many books away, and all the people were so excited to get free books,” Edmiston said. “I learned that a lot of people want to read, they just aren’t given the opportunities to read. I learned how important it was for these kids to get the opportunity to read.”