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Campus chapter wins Phi Kappa Phi literacy grant

LIVINGSTON – Phi Kappa Phi honor society has named University of West Alabama associate professor of romance languages and Phi Kappa Phi chapter president Mary Pagliero as one of 12 nationwide recipients of a $2,500 literacy grant.

For the third consecutive year, the grant will support the Rock-n-Read Literacy Program, an outreach initiative of UWA’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter and Students in Free Enterprise organization, with the HealthStart Maternity Care Program within the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority.

Through Rock-n-Read, students from both University groups pack tote bags with baby board books and literacy materials for distribution to expectant mothers in several West Alabama counties at the completion of a prenatal care program.

Through the program, students hope to help break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty in Alabama’s rural Black Belt region by stressing the importance of reading to children from cradle to kindergarten. Since the program’s inception in 2008 through the end of the 2011, more than 4,500 books will have been distributed.

“We appreciate Phi Kappa Phi’s continued support of the Rock-n-Read program, as our chapter is given the opportunity to work toward educating mothers-to-be about the importance of early literacy,” Pagliero said. “This endeavor is especially important in this region, where poor households may have few or no books.”

The University’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter, which was one of only 18 chapters nationwide earning recognition as a Chapter of Merit last year, was featured in the honor society’s national magazine for its efforts to improve local literacy rates.

The Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grants program was initiated in 2003 to provide an opportunity for campus chapters and individual members to reach out to local communities and share with them the love of learning. Because Phi Kappa Phi is a multi-disciplinary society of students and scholars from large and small institutions located in both urban and rural communities, applicants are encouraged to consider literacy projects that have creative relevance to their disciplines and to the needs of their communities. To date, Phi Kappa Phi has awarded more than $150,000 in literacy grants.

Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually more than 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The Society has chapters on more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines.