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1/27/2010 —

As part of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 18, more than 45 volunteers from all over greater Philadelphia, ages four and up, brought their dreams to life on the pages of their very own hand-made books at a literacy event sponsored by Penn State Brandywine.

"Every good thing starts with a dream and my dream is …" read the first line of every book, each followed by colorful illustrations and imaginations running wild on the pages made with recycled paper and cereal boxes, bound together with anything from yarn to popsicle sticks. The books will be given to various elementary schools, including Westbrook Park Elementary, for their libraries or classrooms.

One eight-year-old volunteer had dreams beyond her years, hoping "all homeless people will have homes." Another volunteer dreamed of helping sick people, while a 22-year-old author wished that all people would be treated with respect.

There was one recurring dream among the volunteers: world peace. "I have a dream and my dream is for everyone to get along and not fight," a thoughtful nine-year-old dreamer wrote. "World peace would bring joy to families everywhere … We need to work together to make the world a better place."

Most of the books told uplifting stories about beating the odds, Amanda Moser, the event's coordinator said. Throughout the day "I heard people say that making the books was a lot harder than they thought," she said. Mostly because they had to come up with the stories on their own. "But everyone put a lot of effort into it and each book was unique and special."

Volunteer Sally Hanson, of Dowingtown, illustrated her creative flip-book with her dream "to travel on a road which is rooted in love."

Another book, filled from cover to cover in colorful illustration, explored a dream that hit home for members of the campus. This creative volunteer shared dreams of "a world where everyone has access to a quality primary education, regardless of where they are born or how much money their parents have."

As the AmeriCorps Pennsylvania Campus Compact (PACC) VISTA in charge of developing and supporting community service, service-learning and civic engagement programs on campus, Moser has a number of literacy initiatives planned for the campus, including the Lion Lit Tutoring Program, which will recruit Penn State Brandywine students to act as literacy tutors for elementary-age students at partnering schools, set to launch in the coming weeks.

"The students will act as role models and also provide the academic encouragement some of these [elementary] students need," she said.

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