Altrusa donates 450 children's books

From left are Martha Smither, Mary Smith, Melanie Pederson, and Sue Spurgin, with some of the books. - Submitted photo

When Mary Smith, regional program director for the Garland County Alternative Education Program, moved to Arkansas in 2017, she started teaching fifth grade for Arch Ford.

Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative is committed to and strives toward academic excellence for all students by enhancing effective teaching and promoting state and regional initiatives to all participating school districts, a news release said.

"These students can't make it or have issues in a regular class setting and are sent to Synergy during the day to work on behavior and grades. Students stay there until they have mastered goals set with them upon arrival. Students that come to us work with counselors and behavior specialist to learn coping skills so they can transition back to their home campus," it said.

Smith started buying books for the students to have at their desk, "so if a student starts to have a meltdown the other students could take their books and go to the reading center until the student that was upset could calm down," the release said.

Smith wants to build classroom libraries and reading centers in Alternative Education Centers and classrooms. The students can take books home if they want to have them as their own. "Giving the students an opportunity to have books accessible either at school or in the home has a big impact on literacy in their life," the release said.

Altrusa International of HSV AR Inc. responded to Smith's request, collected and donated over 450 children's books to help fill the classroom libraries and reading centers. This service project will benefit 150 students in Hot Springs, 96 students in Benton, 30 students at the Boys & Girls Club in Hot Springs Village and 20 students at Mountain Pine.

"Smith appreciates Altrusa for helping her fill classroom libraries and Alternative Education Centers," it said.

Altrusa is an international nonprofit organization "making our local communities better with a focus on literacy." Call Elaine Schroeder at 501-922-3068 or Doris Harder at 501-255-1288 for more information.

Submitted photo
Submitted photo