By Adam Gentile
The CCM writers club ran its first book drive Tuesday, Oct. 9 at the Student Center in an effort to encourage literacy for underprivileged children.
In the United States childhood illiteracy in 4th grade is around 35 percent; however, for lower income families the illiteracy rate is at 82 percent according to the Reading Partners, an organization dedicated to stopping childhood illiteracy. Illiteracy also follows the child later on in life as the U.S Department of Education reported that 60 percent of inmates are illiterate and 85 percent of juvenile delinquents are illiterate.
Marcos Mirlas, president of the Writers Club, organized the event and was in the student center running the book drive.
“The goal was to get books appropriate for children for ages 3-17, and we were trying to give them to children in need,” Mirlas said.
The writers’ club did not work with any established charity or children’s organization, however, Mirlas plans on donating them to a social service office inside his town that will ensure that they go to children in need.
This was the first charity event that Mirlas organized and did not know what to expect from the outcome.
“I overestimated and I had 15 boxes to hold the books, but I only ended up needing five boxes which is still a lot of books, so it’s a good bounty either way,” Mirlas said.
Assuming the average dimensions of a packing box and that of children’s books the writers club most likely collected more than 200 books on their Oct. 9 book drive.
Along with organizing book drives the writers club also has an end of semester event known as the writers’ block.
“It’s like a poetry, but it doesn’t have to be poetry, like the club anything that is your own written word that you present to everybody,” Mirlas said. “There are judges and prizes and it’s a lot of fun for everybody.”
At the moment the club is not going to put on another book drive this semester, but organizations such as International Literacy Association, Reach Out and Read, Literacy for Incarcerated Teens,. all make it their mission to end illiteracy.
The writers’ club focuses on presentation and peer review, that encourages people to show up with any written work whether its a poem, song, short story, or any other form of literature. The meetings take place once a week between 12:30-1:45 on Thursdays.