When members of a Longwood student volunteer group learned that many children in the region have very few or no books of their own, they sprang into action.

The group, called Support. Empower. Learn. Fun., or SELF, spent several months raising money and awareness about their initiative, eventually buying 2,000 books and collecting donations of several thousand more, most of which they distributed to students at Prince Edward County Elementary School’s field day in April. About 600 young adult novels were donated to Prince Edward County High School’s library.

"Each student took home four books," said Alison Roberts ’17, an elementary education major and member of the Cormier Honors College. "It was really fulfilling to see the smiles on their faces as they picked out books they liked, and to know that we did something to really make a difference in their lives.

"Three groups went above and beyond to help our project. Lakewood Manor, a retirement community in Richmond, collected more than 500 books; Ed Winfree of Integrity Data Solutions raised money and bought more than 2,400 books; and Lise LeLisio and Kate Gabriel collected more than 300 books from the Richmond Academy of Medicine Alliance."

SELF is committed to helping improve children’s lives by volunteering and mentoring in the community. Members have reached out to area schools and other organizations to find ways to engage in positive ways with area children.

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