Monday, April 30, 2018

Diagon Valley kickoff benefits Empowering Youth

“I don’t have anything to read… those books are for little kids!” The student was right. A major shortage in the Empowering Darke County Youth After School Program was having reading materials for Middle School students.

Diagon Valley came to the rescue. Beka Lindeman, Assistant Professor of English, Edison State Community College, Darke County Campus, set up a table in the Edison State lobby, then pulled Melissa Eve, Edison State Resource Specialist, and Bob Robinson, Edison State Adjunct Instructor, momentarily from their duties to make a presentation which included a week’s worth of snacks and drinks, and enough books to challenge all 5-8 Middle School students for the remainder of the year. Eve and Robinson are the Empowering Assistant Program Coordinator and Program Coordinator, respectively.

According to Lindeman, Diagon Valley is the Miami Valley chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance. The Harry Potter Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that uses the power of storytelling to “turn fans into heroes.” The Harry Potter Alliance’s goal is to make activism more accessible by using popular stories and fandoms to engage people in activism involving equality, human rights, and literacy.

“Our chapter, Diagon Valley,” Lindeman said, “is dedicated to making our local community more magical by focusing on magical acts of kindness and literacy.”

“Some of our recent projects have included the Free Dobby Sock Drive for area warming shelters, Wizard Rock the Vote voter registration drive, Crafts for a Cause where we made fleece blankets for Safe Alternatives for Youth (SAFY) and arm pillows for the local dialysis center, and hosting a yarn circle where we made red scarves for Foster Care 2 Success’s Red Scarf Project.”

“The Harry Potter Alliance’s biggest project every year is Accio Books,” she continued, “and it is our chapter’s biggest project as well.”

“Last year we distributed over 1,000 books in the community. We set up a “book shop” during teacher work days in Sidney for teachers to pick books for their classrooms and passed out over 500 books to trick-or-treaters at Piqua’s downtown Trick-or-Treat, among other smaller distributions.”

She added that this year’s Accio Books campaign is just starting. The organization is accepting donations of any books through the end of April. There are collection boxes at Turntable CafĂ© in Piqua and at the SAFY office in Sidney, but they can also be dropped at Lindeman’s office in the Edison State, Darke County Campus.

“We hope to distribute well over 1000 books again this year—and the tutoring program was our kickoff!” Lindeman said.

“Beka’s timing couldn’t have been better,” Robinson said. “We had just started working with junior high students, and we’ve had over a dozen intermediate students come into our program since the beginning of the fall term After School Program at Greenville Elementary and Middle School.

“It was a shock!” he added, grinning. “We are extremely grateful to Beka and the Diagon Valley chapter. This was a wonderful donation.”

Empowering Darke County Youth is a United Way Partner providing After School and Summer Tutoring programs to assist students in the areas of language arts and math with the goal of Strong Students for a Strong Community.

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