HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Students at one Hampton elementary school are blasting off into a new reading adventure thanks to the work of Hampton University students.
Luckily for the students, the adventure is just down the hall.
Hampton University students from the Beta Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and members of the organization Black Is Gold created a space-themed library for students at Mary S. Peake Elementary School.
Trajan Baker, who oversaw most of the artistic direction of the library, says the goal was to have a theme for the room that would be engaging for the students.
“We thought about what can really engage the interest of the kids and we thought, what better way than a space library,” he said. “Taking them to space, finding your dreams, blasting off to the stars.”
Baker even painted a re-creation of the Emancipation Oak. It’s the same tree where the namesake of the elementary school, Mary S. Peake, taught African Americans how to read and write.
“Reading is a fundamental aspect of education,” Baker said. “When kids fall in love with reading, they begin to learn more about themselves, more about the world and the community. And we thought that a library would just really begin to build that foundation for them.”
This library, though, was a collaborative effort. Black Is Gold Executive Director and Founder Amber Anderson said as the daughter of two educators, seeing the impact of this new space for the students means a lot to her.
“I come from a home of two educators so being able to pour back into the community and give them the resources in order to give them the opportunity to grow a love and passion for reading which is a great experience and a feel good moment for me,” she said.
Anderson says community members helped donate items for them to bring this library to life.
“We created an Amazon Wishlist,” Anderson said, “so we were sending out the link to people we knew who would donate and they would send books to us, so our role was making sure that we had the books.”
Mary S Peake Elementary School Principal Sharif Hicks, a Hampton University alum, said he’s excited for the possibilities this space provides and is grateful to these young Hampton University students who paid it forward.
“Most kids, college kids, don’t have the opportunity to have the acts of service,” Hicks said. “I think giving back gives them the sense of purpose and destination for their future.”
Those who helped create the space library are still accepting donations. If you’d like to donate to the library, head over to their Amazon Wishlist here.