One year ago, communities across Eastern Kentucky were devastated with widespread flooding. Homes were lost, families were displaced and entire communities were damaged.
With an emphasis on service, last fall’s Spanish service-learning class at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) wanted to help. The class of 15 students set out on a mission to purchase new books for the library at Martha Jane Potter Elementary School in Letcher County, Kentucky, that lost their books in the flood.
“We picked Letcher County because we had connections with them and some students were from the area,” said Makenzie Maawac, a student in the class who became a leader in the fundraising effort. “That provided us with a specific group of people we could directly help.”
The Spanish service-learning class raised $1,000 for the effort. EKU Libraries joined forces to add donor funds, collaborate with the elementary school librarian to select resources, and purchase and catalog the books.
“Helping school libraries ultimately helps everyone and allows us to make connections with students who might find themselves at EKU one day,” said Dean of Libraries Julie George.
In July, the books were delivered and placed on shelves at the Martha Jane Potter Elementary School library in preparation for the new school year.
“It is great to have so many formats, including graphic novels, to share with students,” said Krystal Quillen, Martha Jane Potter Elementary librarian. “Adding so many new diverse books will also help students learn about other cultures, build empathy and see life from other perspectives. I am so thankful for all that EKU Libraries has done for schools in our county by helping us rebuild our school library collections.”
The foundation of EKU Libraries is to serve others, and the objective of the Spanish service-learning course is for students to apply their language and cultural competency skills through hands-on learning experiences. Together, EKU Libraries and the group of students in Dr. Socorro Zaragoza’s class made an impact by serving others.
“I was excited to know that we raised so much and that we could help make a difference!” Maawac said. “It felt good that our hard work paid off.”