Service-learning project leads to overwhelming children’s book donations
05.26.2015 | By Andrea Vasquez
The San Jacinto College South Campus Intentional Connections program collected 900 children’s books as part of a Spring semester service-learning project.
The San Jacinto College Intentional Connections program is a college preparatory program that provides guidance and mentoring to lower-level developmental education students who struggle with core subjects but want to complete college and their academic and professional goals. South Campus Intentional Connections faculty includes Lynnda Shields, Amy Ambrosius, James Wong, Tina Willhoite, Veronica Walker, Debra Babcock, Pat Grissom, and Bob Sandhaas.
“Research shows that providing children access to books at an early age is critical to their long-term academic success,” said Sandhaas. “That factor played a major role in our choosing to collect children’s books as a service-learning project. Many of the children served by the Star of Hope may not own books because of their circumstances (homelessness, etc.). It is our hope that our book donation will provide these children with access to books they might not otherwise have.”
Service-learning is steadily becoming a part of many programs at San Jacinto College. Service-learning allows students to incorporate what they are learning in class into a project or assignment they choose that involves community engagement, such as volunteering, creating events, personal interviews, or any other creative way they can help within the community. Students then write a reflection piece that discusses what they personally learned and gained from their project.
The South Campus Intentional Connections children’s book collection project started by having John Harbaugh, Children’s Librarian at the Harris County Parker Williams Library, present to the Intentional Connections students about how to select children’s books. Plastic bins were distributed throughout the South Campus with information posted about the children’s book donation project. After collecting the bins several times over the semester, a total of about 900 books were donated.
“Some of the books that we collected were books I read when I was younger,” said Nick Coronado, Intentional Connections student. “I think kids will find them interesting. It will also make reading fun which will help them improve their reading skills.”
Originally intended for the South Campus library and children’s center, due to the campus’ overwhelming response in book donations, Intentional Connections students decided to donate a portion of the books to the Star of Hope women’s programs, which give women and children a safe place to stay while getting back on their feet making life improvements. These books will be given to the children in the women’s programs, some of which have never owned books.
“Children who have experienced homelessness suffer both in self-esteem and in literacy development,” said Shields. “Donating books provides the opportunity for families to practice the application of literacy, which in turn also helps with oral language development.”
For more information on the Intentional Connections program, visit sanjac.edu/college-prep.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.