Schoars packingDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, many pre-school children have lost access to educational resources, such as books to read at home, to prepare them for kindergarten success.

This year, in partnership with the United Way of Central Alabama, the Collat School of Business Scholars volunteered to prepare learning material for children across Alabama.

The Collat Scholars volunteered their Friday morning on March 19 organizing, labeling and bagging children’s books to be donated to children development centers within the state. The initiative, Bags of Books Assembly for Birmingham Pre-K Students, provides pre-K children new and unused books to foster reading and readiness for grade school.

It’s all a part of United Way of Central Alabama’s Success by 6 program, designed to prepare low-income pre-school children for success through health screenings, assessments, support services and access to education.

The service project was especially impactful for Collat Scholar Dakota Seagle.

“I grew up in a low-income household and didn’t have many opportunities to read and learn,” he said. Seagle used a similar program when he was a child, and he was thankful he could pay it forward. “Volunteering allows me to give back the same way that’s helped me when I was younger.”

Each year, Collat Scholars volunteer to serve the community as part of the Collat Scholars program. The program, created through the generous support of Charles and Patsy Collat, provides scholarships for 20 high-achieving, under-represented students. Students within the program are encouraged to donate their time and talents throughout their college careers.

“For the Collat scholars participating today, the day of service has often been an important turning point,” said Collat Scholars mentor and professor Mickey Bunn, Ph.D. “They see themselves in a different light, someone with a great capacity to do good in the world.”

Dr. Bunn began organizing the annual day of service n 2015. She understands the impact that giving back through a day of service has on the community and the scholars.

“The scholars are amazed to hear Mr. Collat’s story and to learn of his generosity and kindness in creating the Collat Scholars program,” she said. “In honor of Mr. Collat, the scholars embrace his motto of do good, be better with a day of service to help others in need.”

To learn more about United Way of Central Alabama’s Success by 6 program, visit https://www.uwca.org/success-by-6-boosts-school-readiness/ or contact Dr. Bunn at mbunn@uab.edu.

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