4-H 4-ever Box up the books for a good cause

The Covington News - - Local - TERRI KIM­BLE

Who re­mem­bers the lit­tle stuffed an­i­mal mouse tucked into a hole in the wall at the chil­dren’s li­brary?

I’ve heard those mu­rals are still painted on some of the walls over at the build­ing near the square where so many of my gen­er­a­tion spent the sum­mer check­ing out tow­er­ing stacks of books and lis­ten­ing to li­brary pro­grams.

I can’t re­mem­ber a time when I wasn’t rav­en­ous for my next book.

Books I own have al­ways been pre­cious pos­ses­sions; so much so that I’ve ac­cu­mu­lated heav­ier boxes with each move.

But I have an ad­mis­sion: I’ve only read a sin­gle pa­per­back in two and a half years.

I didn’t sud­denly quit read­ing. No, I swapped to e-books and read more than ever, yet I still can’t part with all those pa­per books.

Whether you read e-books or pa­per books, I imag­ine you also have shelves over­flow­ing with good books we haven’t read in years but hate to lose.

The New­ton County Youth Sum­mit team has found a cause that should have us all ready to pack up those books one last time.

“Youth Sum­mit is a lead­er­ship con­ven­tion where small teams from each county choose an is­sue rel­e­vant to the county and think of ways they can help fix it,” said team mem­ber Flannery Peay of Ox­ford. Peay is a tenth-grade stu­dent in home school.

The group is re­search­ing lo­cal sta­tis­tics, read­ing the news and talk­ing to peo­ple to iden­tify is­sues im­por­tant to the community.

At their meet­ing on Tues­day at Scoops, mem­bers re­ported in on what they’d learned about lo­cal lit­er­acy, grad­u­a­tion rates, school rank­ings, community sup­port groups, teen preg­nancy and other top­ics.

They

also

talked

to some­one about the sta­tus of lo­cal li­braries at a pre­vi­ous meet­ing.

“We’re all very in­ter­ested in aca­demics and stay­ing ahead in school so it was kind of sad to us to see lit­er­acy rates dropped and li­braries un­der­staffed. [The li­brary] is some­thing very spe­cial to us,” said Mary Lathem, a se­nior at East­side High.

Will Holder, a ten­th­grade home school stu­dent from Cov­ing­ton, talked about the bud­get cri­sis in the pub­lic li­brary sys­tem as well as vol­un­teer ef­forts be­ing made in Por­terdale with a li­brary and small neigh­bor­hood book boxes.

“We’re go­ing to the Youth Sum­mit to or­ga­nize our project and come back to make our town a bet­ter place,” said Holder.

Holder, Lathem and Peay are joined by ju­nior Michelle Lewis of East­side High and adult vol­un­teer Les­lie Lathem, a vet­eri­nar­ian at Honey Creek Ve­teri­nary Hospi­tal.

“The Youth Sum­mit en­cour­ages youth and adult part­ner­ships to solve community prob­lems. It also makes the team more aware of their community and of the community’s prob­lems. It cre­ates an aware­ness,” said Lathem.

The team trav­els to the two day Sum­mit spon­sored by the Ge­or­gia Leg­is­la­ture and co­or­di­nated by Ge­or­gia 4-H in Septem­ber, but they are ask­ing you be­gin help­ing their project to­day.

“Col­lect old books you are no longer us­ing,” said Mary Lathem. “Chil­dren’s books of any kind, col­lege text­books, any­thing.”

Books col­lected will be used for both the up- com­ing New­ton County li­brary book sale, as well as to dis­trib­ute to chil­dren along the Christ­mas parade as part of New­ton 4-H’s an­nual project for The Learn­ing Cen­ter.

The team is mak­ing bright blue card­board col­lec­tion boxes you can find locally, such as at the New­ton County 4-H of­fice and Honey Creek Ve­teri­nary Hospi­tal. You can also do­nate di­rectly at the li­brary.

If you have a do­na­tion or would like to be a col­lec­tion point, contact Les­lie Lathem at leslielathem13@gmail.com.

Se­condly, the team is ask­ing community mem­bers to vol­un­teer by vis­it­ing the li­brary or click­ing “Friends of the Li­brary” on the web­site.

Vol­un­teers must be 14 years old and can do­nate any num­ber of hours.

“Mary spent a lot of time at the li­brary when she was lit­tle,” said Les­lie Lathem.

Peay said, “I have read more than half the books in the chil­dren’s sec­tion.”

Holder’s younger sib­lings still check books out from the chil­dren’s sec­tion, and he said that’s where he finds one of his fa­vorite se­ries, too — the Hardy Boys.

And for all those who ad­mit­ted to re­mem­ber­ing that lit­tle mouse — imag­ine what an im­pact our gen­er­a­tion could make, if we each do­nated just a few hours shelv­ing books.

Terri Kim­ble is the New­ton County 4-H Agent through UGA Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or tkim­ble@uga.edu.

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