By Tara Cavanaugh
Two University of Michigan student mentors donated more than 200 books to Anthony Galardi’s third grade class at Carpenter Elementary last month.
The mentors, Francesca George and Tiffany Tan, are senior psychology students who participate in U-M’s mentorship program. They volunteered once a week in Galardi’s classroom during their fall semester, helping students with classwork and more. At the end of their semester, they wanted to express their thanks to the class, and George remembered the students always wanted books.
“The students would say to me: I wish I had this book, I love this book, I want to take it home with me, but I can’t,” she said. “We wanted to do something that would impact the students.”
George and Tan collected more than 200 gently used books from family and friends, far surpassing their expectations. They also collected money, which they used to purchase 25 brand-new copies of the classic children’s book “The BFG” by Roald Dahl.
Each student took home a used book and new copy of “The BFG,” and they also took home one more book for a family member or friend. George and Tan wanted the students to learn the importance of giving, and they brought bows and ribbons for students to wrap up their gifts.
The books came as a complete surprise to the third graders. “The kids were completely ecstatic,” Galardi said. “It was kind of wild.”
“Giving the kids the books was the best Christmas gift anyone could have given Tiffany and me,” George said. They were so happy, they were so appreciative. You’d think some kids (wouldn’t be that into it), but they were so excited.”