‘Knowledge gives us power’

Matthew Strother

June 26, 2014

Students in the West Georgia STAR program gathered Tuesday at the LaGrange Housing Authority education building on Chatham Street to celebrate a donation of books for the program.

LHA board member Debbie Burdette, in full “Mama Jama” getup, hyped up the students for the stacks of books donated by BB&T volunteers. She asked the children to thank the volunteers for their donations of not only books, but snacks for that day’s West Georgia STAR program. After getting the students to pledge to read, learn and finish school, and leading them in the Pledge of Allegiance, she read chapters from one of the donated books.

BB&T volunteers are teaming with the STAR program – which stands for Strengthen, Transform Affordable Resource – an after-school and summer enrichment program offered to the community. Currently there are 85 students in the program and BB&T employees will volunteer to read to the participants each month.

BB&T volunteers are taking part in the company’s sixth annual Lighthouse Project. Teams each have selected a project to assist a nonprofit agency to complete during May or June, in this case West Georgia STAR, and members hope their efforts encourage others in the community to volunteer.

“We wanted to work with West Georgia STAR because of the great work they do in LaGrange,” said Kelly McClung, senior teller at BB&T, in a written statement. “We’re proud to team up with them and help in any way we can.”

Anyone in the community interested in volunteering for West Georgia STAR was asked to call Chad Cooper at 706-882-8416, ext. 25.

LaGrange Housing Authority Director Zsa Zsa Heard said the donation of books helps the housing authority build a library beyond just fiction stories. She wants to see a range of books available to children, like history books and those that provide them with skills to live and work in the world.

“It means that our children are reading and we’re giving them knowledge, and we want our children to become self-sufficient, so reading is a tool that you need,” Heard said. “If you can read, you have knowledge; knowledge gives us power.”