Lehigh Valley Student Teachers Collect 10,000 Books for a School in Africa
By Debra Kopp (May 2008)
When the elementary education student teachers at Penn State Lehigh Valley learned of a need for books to support a library in Africa, they accepted the challenge and successfully engaged the students and communities in the schools where they were completing their student teaching. When this first cohort of elementary education students completed the drive in the last week of the semester, they had collected 10,000 books to help the Drimiopsis Primary School in Namibia, Africa.
Debra Kopp, supervisor of student teaching, connected a Peace Corps teacher from Namibia with the efforts of the Lehigh Valley student teachers. The eight student teachers worked with their elementary school communities to build the library in Drimiopsis. They shared letters and pictures from the students in Namibia with the students at Sheckler Elementary School in Catasauqua and at Lower Nazareth Elementary School in Nazareth so they could become familiar with the country and continent.
The Nittany Lion visited each of the schools to encourage children to participate. The books poured in. The communities of these two schools were so generous in sharing all types of books for children. By the end of the week-long drive to gather literacy valuables, the children and their families contributed 10,000 books for the students in Africa.
The next challenge was shipping the books to Namibia, Africa. Financial help from Penn State and the Allentown Central Catholic High School supported the shipment of most of the books to Africa. The remaining books were donated to the Sixth Street Shelter and to the Boys and Girls Club of Allentown.
These partnerships made it possible to bring resources to the children in Africa: student teachers with Sheckler and Lower Nazareth Elementary Schools, Penn State Lehigh Valley, the Allentown Central Catholic High School and everyone involved on the other end in Namibia, Africa.