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Youngsters’ literacy focus of ISU TRiO Student Services book drive

January 12, 2007

 Idaho State University’s TRiO Student Services program has several spring community-service projects in progress, including a book drive aimed at increasing literacy among elementary school students, and participation in ISU’s Martin Luther King Day celebration.

“TRiO programs are doing some exciting things in the spring semester, not only for our target students, which are from low-income families and are first generation college students, but also overall for the community we live and work in,” says James “Byrd” Yizar, ISU assistant dean of students and TRiO director.

Yizar cites the TRiO children’s book drive, which will continue through Jan. 19, with collection points that include Holt Arena at Saturday’s ISU-Northern Colorado men’s basketball game.

“An individual bringing a book to the Saturday men’s game will be admitted for the price of a children’s ticket,” he says, adding that TRiO staff members will be at the entrance collecting the books.

    “Our goal is to collect books we can give to students of elementary school age,” Yizar says. “Ideally, we want books that older students can read to elementary level students, but we will take any books that are donated.”

    TRiO students and staff will participate in and lead the Martin Luther King Jr. March on Monday, Jan. 15. Students Wambui Ngiri, Katrina Volbrecht, Da’Yondra Williams, and Karen Kamusoko will join Yizar; Mike Echanis, assistant director; Ram Eddings, counselor; and other TRiO staff and students at the head of the marchers. The march will start at 1:30 p.m. and proceed from Holt Arena to the Pond Student Union Building where ISU football player, James Drake, will deliver

 the keynote address.

    The annual TRiO Day, honoring TRiO achievers, will be Saturday, Feb. 17.

    “This year we will have a luncheon and campus activities,” Yizar says. “We are really trying to promote service-learning projects, how important they are to the overall environment our students live in and their own self-esteem.”

    Last year’s service project was providing fleece blankets to Pocatello’s Aid for Friends shelter. This year’s project is the children’s book drive.

    The TRiO Day luncheon will be at Culinary Arts in the College of Technology. Activities will range from recreation at Reed Gym to family crafts at the Craft Shop to games in the Pond Student Union Building.

    “We want to highlight the accomplishments of our low-income and first-generation students,” Yizar says, “what they have overcome and done to be successful. An amazing number of disadvantaged individuals got their first taste of success through TRiO.”

    The three TRiO programs include Upward Bound (UB), Educational Talent Search (ETS), and Student Support Services (SSS). Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search are outreach programs serving junior high/middle school and high school students by helping them stay on track to graduate, and then successfully apply and be admitted to post-secondary schools. Student Support Services works with post-secondary students to help them get a degree and enroll in graduate programs.

    The year 2007 will mark the 40th year TRiO programs have been active on the ISU campus. Homecoming activities including a reunion of former students and staff members will commemorate the milestone in the fall.

    During the 40 years of service at ISU, TRiO programs have served approximately 56,850 low income, first generation, and students with disabilities in the ten southeastern counties of Idaho.  Without the program’s services many program participants would not achieve their educational goals of graduating high school and entering a post secondary program. Approximately 1,370 students are currently working in TRiO programs receiving federal grant money, including 1,050 in Educational Talent Search, 250 in Student Support Services and 70 in Upward Bound.


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