NASHVILLE – A national fraternity for women recently donated thousands of books to Nashville-area students.
Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women distributed 20,000 new books to Nashville-area schools, after-school programs and community programs serving students from low-income families and Title I schools.
For many of the students, these are the first new books they have ever owned and are the first step to creating a lifelong love of reading, according to a spokesperson for the fraternity.
The book distribution took place in honor of Pi Beta Phi’s Fraternity Day of Service, an annual event bringing Pi Phis together to serve their communities through literacy service. At the event, Pi Phis helped carry, sort and distribute books and facilitated children’s activities including storytime and Create-Your-Own bookmark stations.
The three-day event was held at the Green Hills YMCA Frist Teen Center.
Nashville was chosen as the book distribution location because of the amount of need representatives saw in the area. More than 19 percent of the city’s population lives below poverty level and access to new, age-appropriate books is limited.
"I am very excited about this book distribution because Pi Beta Phi has the opportunity to give back to the Nashville community in support of such an important initiative: literacy,” said Fraternity Day of Service Chair Mary Ann Chipkevich. “First Book is such a gracious partner and will be directly helping local children in need achieve future success by providing them with books in order to learn and excel.”
Pi Beta Phi partnered in this initiative with First Book, a nonprofit providing new books to its national network of schools and programs. Over the past several years, Pi Beta Phi has donated $1 million to literacy causes and given one million books to children in need.
Now, the goal is to impact one million lives through its philanthropy “Read > Lead > Achieve” by the time Pi Beta Phi celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017.
“Our fraternity of more than 200,000 women is united in the cause to promote the importance of reading,” said Pi Beta Phi President Paula Shepherd. “According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, one in four children grows up functionally illiterate, and we believe that is one too many. Pi Beta Phi is thrilled to participate in this book distribution because we believe reading transforms individuals, creates leaders and is the foundation of all that we can achieve in life.”
Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women was founded in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois. It has since installed 200 collegiate chapters and more than 300 alumnae organizations worldwide.
For more information, visit pibetaphi.org or follow Pi Phi on Twitter and Facebook.