William Carey University hands out 1,000 books at parade to promote literacy

William Carey University hands out 1,000 books at parade to promote literacy
(Source: WDAM Staff)
(Source: WDAM Staff)
(Source: WDAM Staff)
(Source: WDAM Staff)

HATTIESBURG, MS - It was a night of festivities as the Pine Belt hit the streets to watch the Christmas parade and tree lighting in Downtown Hattiesburg, but one of the floats threw out power instead of candy. The William Carey University float promoted literacy for Mississippi kids.

Not cases of candy but boxes of books lined the inside of the William Carey float during the Christmas parade.

"You want them to take something home that is meaningful," said Tammy Brown, Chair of Curriculum.  "You want them to be excited about learning and reading."

"We know that reading is going to be a result, and they're going to be excited about reading in the future," said  Cynthia Smith,  who helped build the float.

Knowledge is power, and that is what volunteers of the university handed out to children lining the downtown streets.

"I know they love candy, but a book is something they can use over and over again." Brown said.

"I love the concept of putting books in children's hands," said Christina Liverett,  Assistant Professor of Education.   

The university's goal was promoting literacy for children of all age groups. Their eager hands reached for the books.

"They see us coming, and they see the books in our hands. it makes me feel good. It's my favorite part about Christmas," Liverett said.

"I am thrill beyond words.  It's so exciting to see their faces light up and the children just grabbing for a book," Smith said.

Those representing William Carey passed out a thousand books hoping the pages lead the children to many chapters of literacy and success.

"It takes you anywhere you want to go in the future and the rest of your life," Smith said. "They have to begin somewhere, and once they get that book as a child, they'll keep that in their memory and hopefully that will be the book that started them on a journey of reading the rest of their lives."