Kappa Delta Pi Service Work Earns Presidential Volunteer Award
Plymouth State University’s Lambda Alpha chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an international honor society in education, was presented in August 2013 with a gold-level Presidential Volunteer Award for service work in literacy initiatives. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. In his letter to the awardees, President Obama congratulated them for “helping to address the most pressing needs in their communities.”
Faculty advisor and Professor of Early Childhood Studies Mary Earick says Plymouth State’s KDP members are serious about their service. With the national organization’s broad emphasis on literacy for children and families, the PSU chapter has narrowed that focus to partner with the National Center for Family Literacy’s National Literacy Day program to showcase the importance of family literacy in towns and cities throughout New Hampshire. During the annual themed event, hosted in New Hampshire by the Granite State Reading Council, families, schools, and communities come together to raise awareness through activities, fundraising, book drives, read-a-thons, and more. Area businesses and individuals contribute to the event through book sponsorships. Each dollar donated buys one book, and each book is labeled with the gift-giver’s name.
Chelsea Vittner ’14, chair of the 2013 New Hampshire Literacy Day committee, was impressed by the local business community’s commitment to children’s literacy: “Participating in Literacy Day helped me see how the kindness of others, through generous donations statewide, allowed for thousands of books to be purchased and distributed to students.”
That I May Serve
Each year, PSU’s KDP members identify their own service projects within the larger program. Some seek sponsorships from businesses, others develop literacy engagements in schools; each member spends at least 10 hours a month throughout the year in community service related to education and literacy. In recent years, KDP has hosted numerous events, including family reading nights at local schools; festivals with games, food, and reading centers; and, most recently, a NH Department of Education Common Core presentation.
KDP member Cathrin Goss ’14 helped plan PSU’s involvement in the 2013 Literacy Day event, held in Littleton, NH. “Children were excited about reading and got a lot of free books for their participation,” she says. “It was so exciting to see them wanting to learn and read outside of the traditional school setting, as well as seeing my PSU peers interacting with them. Getting to participate in Literacy Day was eye-opening and refreshing; I can’t wait to help out again this spring!”
Knowledge, Duty, Power
The name Kappa Delta Pi comes from the Greek words for knowledge, duty, and power. Established in 1911, this nonprofit organization started blazing trails straightaway by including women as well as men. KDP fosters excellence in education and promotes fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. Members of the PSU chapter represent every department across the University’s education program. Students are invited to join KDP based on their exceptional academic performance.
Membership has grown to 70 students in 2013. In fact, the chapter also won the Kappa Delta Pi award for outstanding member recruitment in 2013. Future plans include a goal for individual members to attain the Presidential Volunteer Service Award as well. Earick says, “What I have been working on over the last three years is having the students take on the leadership roles with mentorship. They are ready to soar!”