Rho Chi book drive benefits
By Jennifer Vickers
Daily Cougar Staff
Kim Chu thumbed through a pile of 132 children's
books and picked out Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the book she said she thought
is the most interesting in
Photo courtesy of Rho Chi
Rho Chi Honor Society President
Lisa DeMars, left, and Service Committee Chairwoman Kim Chu load books
from the First Annual Rho Chi
Children's Book Drive.
"It's a story about a witch trying to
change two children," Chu said. There is a variety of picture books and
classic adolescent-level novels in the pile and
lots of Dr. Seuss books, Chu said.
The books, donated in March by College
of Pharmacy students, will find homes on the shelves and in the hands of
children at E.O. Smith Education
The book drive was organized by Rho Chi,
an academic honor society in the College of Pharmacy. Chu, the group's
service committee chairwoman,
said it was a way to actualize Rho Chi's
mission to support the local community.
"We were looking for other things Rho Chi
could do to add to the community," Rho Chi president Lisa DeMars said.
Because the Rho Chi mission
includes recognizing intelligence, DeMars
said the organization decided to round up tools for learning for elementary
Of 138 Houston Independent School District
schools, E.O. Smith was chosen to receive the books because of its large
minority population and low
Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test
scores in 2000 and 2001, Chu said.
Because of a fire that destroyed the school's
library last year, the books are particularly needed, E.O. Smith librarian
Ettalois Johnson said.
"Right now I'm building my library from
scratch, so the books will help," Johnson said.
E.O. Smith, founded in 1950 as Houston's
first black junior high school, is located in the Fifth Ward (east of downtown
and north of Buffalo Bayou). It is
a Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams
school, meaning at-risk students are carefully monitored and are encouraged
to prepare themselves to
go to college, Johnson said.
Though book drives are not a common source
of library resources, they have served as a way to ensure literature is
available to the first- through
eighth-grade students after the fire,
"It's never like we have enough books,"
Johnson said. "With our low economic area, we don't have parents that go
out and do book drives."
DeMars said she hopes this will be the
first of many book drives the organization holds, and that future Rho Chi
leadership will continue to place
emphasis on giving back to the community.
Chu said Rho Chi is looking for other on-campus
organizations to partner with for next year's book drive. She said she
thinks that, if promoted
campus-wide, the event could be a huge
"This year we have tried to add more community
service projects," DeMars said.
In addition to volunteering at the Houston
Area Women's Center annual five-kilometer race, Rho Chi members have started
giving time on the
weekends to help at the HOMES Clinic,
The Houston Outreach Medical Education
and Social Services Clinic, a collaborative project between the UT Houston
Health Science Center, Baylor
College of Medicine, the UH College of
Pharmacy and the UH School of Social Sciences, provides medical service
for Houston's homeless population,
"We're trying to encourage high standards
of conduct and character among members by promoting public service," Chu