Books for Orphans: Area students team up to help children - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Books for Orphans: Area students team up to help children

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

People working together can create change.

That's the message UNI Elementary Education Professor Sarah Montgomery hopes students take away from her class this last spring semester.

As part of a service learning project, the college students decided to write original books to send to orphanages.

"As teachers, we think I'm going to be working with my students or at my school with have a literacy program, but we can work together to support one another in a more global way, which is powerful to think about," said Dr. Sarah Montgomery with UNI.

The idea for "Books Without Borders" started with Kaitlin Kivell -- who has a connection at an orphanage in Panama, and Abby Lundy -- who has a connection to an orphanage in Haiti.

"I just asked my family friends if this was something they'd be interested in, and they were thrilled about the idea," said Abby Lundy.

The original goal was to send 50 books to the orphanages. In the end, the students wrote 225 books with lots of help.

"It takes a lot of involvement. It's not just us. So it's exciting to know so many people are willing to help us," said Kaitlin Kivell.

Foreign language and art students at Waterloo East High School helped translate and illustrate the books. Students at Cedar Falls High also worked on the books, as well as students at Wartburg College.

The books are in English, Spanish and French.

"The most important part is they're going to be different topics that are applicable to kids because we've done some research to find out what they like to read," said Abby Lundy.

Some of the book topics include colors, counting, friendship and soccer. Hopefully, the finished books can inspire the children in Haiti and Panama to get excited about reading and learning.

"Being in education, I know the importance of reading. When you hear there's children out there who don't have access to books or even a teacher, it's just good to know we can do a little something that's going to effect their whole lives," said Lundy.

The cost of binding, laminating and shipping the books is covered thanks to the Center for Community Engagement at Wartburg College and the College of Education Dean's Office at UNI.

"I think it speaks to the willingness of community members and other educators to want to have a positive impact on others," said Dr. Montgomery.

The books should be shipped out soon and are expected to arrive in Panama and Haiti sometime in June.

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