Lee is participating in Missions Week this week Oct. 26-30. This year the week's central focus is a book drive for the Phebe Grey Orphanage and is held in honor of Dee Lavender.
Missions Week is an on-campus event that aims to influence and make students aware of the need around the world. It takes place every fall semester at Lee.
Squires Library and the Early Learning Center (ELC) are teaming up to hold the book drive for the orphans in Liberia. They have partnered with Books by the Foot, an organization that sends boxes of pre-owned books in fair condition. Squires is also prepared to restore damaged books that are donated.
Faculty and students of Lee can check out the display and pick up donation forms on the main floor of Squires. The donation forms should be returned to the library front desk.
The Phebe Grey Orphanage was established in 1996 and seeks to help children affected by civil wars and the Ebola crisis.
Students at Lee not only have the opportunity to engage their minds and hearts in the work of the mission field, but also practically make a difference through giving via the book drive.
The 207 children at the orphanage only have access to 10 books, a reality that Director of Center for Teaching Excellence Carolyn Dirksen, Associate Dean of the School of Religion Rickie Moore, and Campus Ministries Pastor Jimmy Harper, were made aware of this past summer when they visited the orphanage in Liberia.
A functioning library is necessary for the orphanage to graduate students. They are currently only able to provide education through 10th grade.
Students at the orphanage sit in a room on hard benches, lit by sun coming in from the window, and take notes without any form of textbook or technology.
'They are hungry for knowledge and information and genuinely want to learn about the world,"Dirksen said. "Possessing a book and having access to a library would be a huge resource for them, and they would really enjoy it and benefit from it."
Lee students can donate individually or as a group through Greek or other service clubs on campus. A variety of age and genre options of books are available at different prices for students to choose.
ELC is also utilizing the scholastic system to send books through donations from parents, who are all faculty of Lee.
Joy Lewis, of the Early Learning Center, said the book drive has a positive affect on both the children who receive the books, but also those that give.
'I see a lot of value in doing this, I think that it helps the children to realize there's so much more to the world. ' It reinforces sharing which is a huge concept in the early childhood world," Lewis said. "We are really blessed to be able to do something."
Squires Library employee Amy Mercer hopes to travel to deliver the books this summer.
'It's a great honor to support the orphanage. ' Their resources are so few, so anything we can offer is a great thing," Mercer said. "It's going to be beneficial because the country has gone through so much destruction. ... We can spark interest in them [and] in learning more to let them know that there are possibilities out.'
Dirksen said it is the heart of the Le students that provides so much potential for giving.
'Lee students are generous to the core, and their hearts are broken by what breaks the heart of God," Dirksen said. "In America, we are blessed beyond anything we can be aware of, and where much is given, much is required.'
The book drive will last through the remainder of the fall 2015 semester.
If students have questions see the library or email firstname.lastname@example.org