Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville Mayor’s Youth Council held book drives as a community service project, collecting 1,012 books to donate to Clarksville-Montgomery County elementary schools.
Members of the Youth Council began drives at their high schools last September, then brought the collected books to Clarksville Parks and Recreation to be distributed to schools.
“We have a book fair every year at the school,” said Rachel Wainright, Norman Smith Elementary School librarian. “Inevitably, there are children who cannot afford to purchase any books, but thanks to the Mayor’s Youth Council, every student will have at least one, new-to-them, book to take home.”
Initially, the Youth Council reached out to Norman Smith Elementary about the book drive, but the concept grew into a weekly after-school book club, where high school students read and interact with elementary school students.
“Coming to Norman Smith Elementary School has been awesome,” said Gracie Watson, member of the Youth Council and a junior at Rossview High School. “The kids are always so excited to see us and read books with us. It’s a really great program that I think we need to keep going.”
Activities in the book club included helping with accelerated reader tests, making crafts, and reading in small groups made up of one teenager and three younger children.
Wainright said the book club has been a great experience for the children, and she appreciates the more than 700 donated books.
“The kids idolize the teenagers, so it’s really great for them to see older kids excited about reading,” Wainright said. “This experience gave our students the opportunity to see teenagers in a positive light, thriving and studying and enjoying school.”