Science Hill sophomore Aarushi Raj didn’t always get excited about reading. But after she found books that interested her, reading has become one of her favorite pastimes. Raj has partnered with the United Way of East Tennessee Highlands to host a book drive to benefit children attending local schools.
Raj started the drive by donating her favorite childhood book, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, to the cause. Raj hopes to ensure that students have access to books that interest them so they can discover their love of reading.
“I believe that every child deserves to have access to the books that he or she wants to read,” Raj said. “I want to share the joy of reading with other young readers so that they can also explore new worlds. I hope people will join me by donating one of their favorite books so it can impact others the same way it impacted you. Our love of reading starts with one book, so why not let your book be the one that creates the love of reading for someone else.”
Raj said that she used to detest reading but uncovered her love after she started to find books that interested her. That happened in second grade after finding books like the Junie B. Jones series, the Ramona series, and the Fudge series. Once she found books that she enjoyed, they were hard to put down.
“When I read these books, I felt that I knew the main characters,” Raj said. “I followed them on their journeys throughout the books. I felt the concerns of the main characters, waited anxiously when they faced challenges and cheered with them at their successes."
Raj challenges the community to take the time to donate some of their favorite books or make a monetary donation to the book drive. For more information or to donate, visit www. www.unitedwayetnh.org/bookdrive/.
HOW TO SUPPORT
Those interested in donating books to the 2021 Book Drive can make a monetary donation here or can bring the books to various donation sites including:
- United Way of East TN Highlands Office (1907 N Roan St., Suite 409, Johnson City, TN)
- Indian Trail Intermediate School (307 Car-Mol Dr., Johnson City, TN)
- Lake Ridge Elementary School (1001 Lake Ridge Square, Johnson City, TN)
- New Student Media Center – 2nd Floor of ETSU’s Culp Center (412 J L Seehorn Jr Rd, Johnson City, TN)
The funds donated to the initiative will purchase more books for any underrepresented reading levels from the books donated. For example, if all books donated are at a 5th-8th grade reading level, we would use the funds to purchase books at the 2nd-4th grade reading level.