AUM women’s basketball players ‘Make a Difference’ for young children

International author joins women’s players to celebrate
literary achievements of ‘Young writers of the Molina Center.’

Auburn Montgomery/Montgomery, Ala. (October 18, 2016) — AUM women’s basketball players will be joined by internationally known speaker and writer Clifton Taulbert, author of “Once upon a Time When We Were Colored” and “Eight Habits of the Heart,” on Saturday at the 20th Reading Makes a Lifelong Difference program, part of AUM’s celebration of National Make a Difference Day. AUM will recognize the achievements of young writers at the Molina Learning Center, site of an ongoing AUM project called Actions Build Community: The AUM-Taulbert Initiative, which encourages reading among children in low-income housing.

DATE: Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016

TIME: 10 a.m.–12 p.m. (Clifton Taulbert speaks to children: 11:15 a.m.)

LOCATION: The Molina Learning Center (located in the back of the Pine Oaks housing community at 100 Windywood Drive)

Also on Saturday, AUM’s women’s basketball coaches and players will read with children and help them select books for their home libraries, which are not commonplace in low-income homes where children might have school textbooks but not books they own and can enjoy at their leisure.

The young writers, ages 6–12, participate in the Writers' Blocks after-school enrichment program directed by Nancy Anderson, associate professor emerita of English and Distinguished Outreach Fellow at AUM. The free program at the Molina Center serves children living in the Pine Oaks (formerly Southlawn) and Sherwood housing communities, and the youths gather for a writer’s workshop once a week on Wednesdays to write poetry and prose, which is compiled annually into the printed anthology.

The goal of “Reading Makes a Life-long Difference” is to encourage reading in low-income homes through the efforts of volunteers who share their enthusiasm for reading with children, said Anderson, who has taught writing and literature courses at the university and high school levels for more than 40 years.   

“Children in low-income housing do not have immediate access to extra-curricular enrichment programs — unless the programs can be provided on site,” said Anderson.

According to Anderson, Taulbert inspired the creation of the AUM-Taulbert Initiative in 1997, when Anderson and her Literature and Community students participated in National Make a Difference Day — every fourth Saturday in October — on the recommendation of the author.

Every year since, the AUM women's basketball coaches and players, along with some other volunteers, go to one or more community centers in low-income housing communities and read with children and help them select new books for their home libraries, Anderson said. “Over the years, we have broadened the initiative to include the adults in the community, encouraging them to come select books for the family and develop a home library,” she said.

AUM’s Make a Difference Day program has earned national recognition. In fact, USA Weekend and the late actor Paul Newman recognized the reading program in 2004 as one of the top ten programs for the national Make-A-Difference Day.

For information, contact Nancy Anderson at 334-467-4098.

About Auburn University at Montgomery 

Auburn University at Montgomery is ranked among the South's top universities by The Princeton Review. Consistently chosen as the best university in the area, Auburn Montgomery provides students with detailed knowledge and hands-on, practical experience, often from professionals in the field. 

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