Melonie Sexton Ties Extra Credit to Helping Our Community

A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses

This past fall, Psychology Professor Melonie Sexton and her students proved how something small can make a huge difference in the lives of others.

While visiting Washington, D.C., last summer, Melonie learned about an organization known as the Little Free Library.

“The idea is simple,” Melonie explained. “Put a library box in a community and allow residents to take books out for free. Ideally, people will donate books so that the box always has reading materials for others.”

Loving the idea, Melonie adopted the concept with her students, offering the activity as an extra credit assignment, and the opportunity quickly picked up momentum. Melonie and her Developmental Psychology class were able to donate two library boxes to community centers in the Central Florida area.

Thanks to the efforts of Melonie, Ellen Rendle, coordinator, program advisor, and a few passionate students, one box now resides at the Coalition for the Homeless in Parramore in Downtown Orlando and one in a community park in Kissimmee.

Honor students Sara Santiago and Sonia Lozano led the charge in finding materials for the box and arranged meetings with city officials, including Commissioner Olga Gonzalez. Another student, Ashley Scott, held a book drive at her company and was able to collect more than 50 books to get the boxes started. Additionally, faculty from the West Campus Behavioral and Social Science division donated close to 100 books.

Due to the project’s success, Melonie is planning to offer this project again as an extra credit assignment for her DEP2004 class in the spring. Her hope is to bring two boxes to the Orlando area each semester. If you are interested in helping with the project, please contact Melonie at msexton7@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 5632.

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