Fraternity brothers donate hundreds to childhood literacy

PLATTSBURGH - The brothers from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh's Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity want to support childhood literacy. As a result, the chapter has traditionally held an annual bowl-a-thon, raising money for the national "Books for Kids" campaign.

This year, however, the group wanted to do more and to make their efforts local. So, they set to work hosting a table in Angell College Center and "storming the dorms" to gather donations. Then, to top it off, they held the inaugural SigTauStock, a family-friendly event featuring live music.

These efforts netted $750 and 50 books, all of which were donated to the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country for Journey into Reading, an early literacy program. The program sends volunteers to read to families in Plattsburgh's Champlain Centre mall from 4:30 to 6 p.m. every Thursday. After hearing a story or two, the children who attend get to pick out a free book. The program has given away 25,000 books during the last eight years.

With around 100 books given away weekly, the fraternities' donation will amount to about a month and a half worth of books.

"Every penny will be used to buy books," said Alice Sample, coordinator of the program, who was very impressed by the men of the fraternity.

Sample went to SigTauStock and found "they were just having a good time while doing good things."

And, those good things have already made an impact on her program.

"Without fundraising efforts like this, the books would not be there for children," said Sample.

At its national roots, Sigma Tau Gamma started out as a teacher's fraternity. This history - combined with SUNY Plattsburgh's history as a teacher's college and the fact the local chapter has several education majors - all make the charity a good fit, said Nick Lavigne, the group's vice president for recruitment.

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