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Student volunteers will stress the importance of education and cultural awareness to young members of the Easton community at Lafayette’s fifth annual Literacy Day celebration. The event will take place 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 4 in the Marlo Room of Farinon College Center.

“It is very important for the Easton community and Lafayette College to come together to celebrate an event like Literacy Day in order to promote the joy of reading as well as the overall importance of education,” says Kirsten Rutkowski, AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer and adviser of the Landis Community Outreach Center’s Kids in the Community program. “Lafayette student volunteers can act as positive role models for the children in the community in regard to academic achievement.”

About 75 children ages 4-12 and more than 40 volunteers are expected to attend. In recognition of Easton’s diversity, activities will focus on Eric Velasquez’s Grandma’s Records, a story about a young boy growing up in Spanish Harlem who discovers his Puerto Rican heritage through his grandmother’s merengue and conga records. With simple Spanish phrases and notes on actual Latino musicians, Grandma’s Records teaches readers how to embrace cultural differences.

For the second year, First Book, a national organization dedicated to providing new books to children of low-income families, will donate two books to each child who participates in the event.

Hispanic Society of Lafayette and the Heritage of Latin America special-interest floor will lead participants in dancing and creating maracas, a percussion instrument native to Puerto Rico. The Marquis Players will stage an interactive production of Grandma’s Records. International Students Association will help children write their own stories describing how music has affected them and create flags of countries around the world. Other volunteers will serve as “book buddies,” working with one or two children and assisting them with each activity.

Other campus organizations providing support for Literacy Day include Student Government, Lafayette Intercultural Networking Council, Hillel Society, Association of Black Collegians, and Ceramics Club. Lafayette received a Verizon Youth Service America grant for journals for participants. Palmeri Bus Company will provide transportation and Easton Bakery will provide food.

Children of faculty and staff are invited to attend Literacy Day events. Those interested should contact the Landis Center to obtain permission slips. For more information on participating or making a donation, contact Rutkowski at (610) 330-5553 or

Categorized in: Students