LSU NAACP, Black Law Students Association Hosts Book Drive for Underprivileged Children in Baton Rouge | News
LSU NAACP and the Black Law Students Association gave back to Baton Rouge youth with a book drive Feb. 15-28.
The donations were distributed to the Baton Rouge Detention Center and the Baton Rouge Advocacy Center for Children and Youth.
LSU NAACP Juvenile Justice Chairman Jordan Williams, an LSU psychology junior, wanted to start a donation campaign for children in juvenile detention centers.
Tiger Prison Project has held a prison book drive in previous years. The NAACP took inspiration from the Tiger Prison Project and started a book drive during Black History Month.
Williams, who got the job of president of juvenile justice this semester, was exposed to various opportunities within the NAACP to help underfunded people in the Baton Rouge community. She wanted collecting books to give children a physical object they can keep and cherish over the years.
“I experienced the joy of receiving a new book and falling in love with it. I believe every child should experience this,” Williams said.
The Baton Rouge Child Advocacy Center is a resource where children who have been abused or witnessed malicious acts can be helped. Williams believes donating books to the advocacy center can allow children to calm their emotions and talk openly to counselors at the advocacy center.
“Books can help these kids with whatever they’re going through,” Williams said. “These gifts could help a child who doesn’t normally open up to others find a safe space to share their past experiences.”
Williams created a barcode on each of the donation boxes for donors to scan. A website pops up that gives facts and statistics about youth in the Baton Rouge community. The barcode also provides a link to dig deeper into the raw statistics of what children face in detention centres.
One of the facts listed on the website is as follows: YesYoung people who are detained or incarcerated can be subject to overcrowding, physical and sexual violence, trauma, suicide and even death.
LSU NAACP Education Committee Chair Justin Martin, a junior in African and American studies, is working to ensure that every child in Baton Rouge has the opportunity to receive a better education. Martin notices the stigma that accompanies detention centers and advocates for minors to have access to learning materials.
“One of the things that makes this book drive really special is getting rid of people’s negative mindset about children in detention centers,” Martin said. “Most think these underprivileged children don’t need the educational items a child needs on a regular basis, but they do.”
He believes that children in detention centers need a chance to find an interest that increases their learning and grows from their past mistakes.
“Books are like a portable world, you can take them wherever you go,” Martin said. “For those children who are physically in the detention center, these books will have a positive outlet to engage with during their difficult situations.”
Angel Puder, a junior majoring in political science and African and African American studies, is the vice president of the LSU NAACP. She helped the NAACP plan this campaign and believes the books will have a positive influence on children.
“These books should help them have a space to escape from their daily challenges. That’s what I love about reading,” Puder said. “You can step into a different world and live in the characters’ lives if you don’t like the way your life is a moment.”
Puder wants donors to realize that the smallest donation of a book can have a positive impact on recipients.
“If you had a certain book that stood out to you as a child and you donate it, the child can have the same experience as you,” Puder said. “The book can help them as it did for you.”