Monday, April 8, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 125



Rho Chi book drive benefits HISD school

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
the stack.

Photo courtesy of Rho Chi Honor Society

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 students.

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, Johnson said.

"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 success.

"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, she said.

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,
DeMars said.

"We're trying to encourage high standards of conduct and character among members by promoting public service," Chu said.

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