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Honors senior donates 1,380 books to DPS school

June 23, 2016

The Detroit Fellows Tutoring Project (DFTP) is impacting childrens' lives in classrooms throughout elementary schools in the Detroit Public Schools school district.

Now, one Honors student is hoping to make a lasting impact on students outside of the classroom as well. Samantha Bynum, a senior majoring in Criminal Justice, donated 1,380 books to students at Bunche Elementary-Middle School, where she spent this past semester helping three students learn how to read.

When she saw how her students struggled with the basic concepts of reading, she asked if they were able to read books at home, which they replied no because they did not have access to them.

“That kind of bothered me because I always had books at that age,” Bynum said. “So I thought maybe I should get them a couple of books. As time went on, I started realizing that it wasn’t just them, but other kids as well.”

Bynum knew she needed to act after fellow tutors confirmed what her students told her. So she reached out to her church, high school, friends, and family members for help.

She was hoping to get enough books to be able to give each student one book. However, as the days wore on and the books kept coming in, she collected enough to have each kindergartner take home five books after passing them out on June 9th.

After passing books out to the kindergarten class, she had enough books leftover to give one to each student at the school. 

“Kids are getting the proper education in school, but they are coming home and it needs to be reinforced, and they are not able to have that,” she said. “If they are already that far behind, it is only going to get worse. (It helps) just having something in the home that they could go to and look at, read, try to read, or just look at the words to try and familiarize them with.

Bynum, who is planning on attending law school after graduating, said she feels passionate about this issue and is already planning on doing another book drive during the fall semester.

“It was really eye-opening and it made me more determined to fight for them,” she said.