Cops & Neighbors: CMPD donates books to reading challenged children

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Education experts say that if a child can't read by the third grade, their chances for success in life diminish greatly. That's why it's a mission for CMS and CMPD's Hickory Grove Division to get books in the hands of reading-challenged 8-year-olds. 

It was a special day for kids at Hickory Grove Elementary this week as they got books for Christmas from CMPD officers.

"Oh they love it, they're laughing, they're interacting, they're already reading thru some of the books. They're loving it," said Officer Peggy Robinson. 

Officer Robinson started the Book Drive last year after helping out one day for a reading program where she noticed many kids were struggling to read. She realized they didn't have many books at home. 

"And it was remarkable to see the kids faces them crying them laughing and hugging us - and so I decided to do it again this year," she said. 

About 260 kids at Hickory Grove Elementary get a package of seven books, all donated from the generous hearts in the community with help from Target and Chick-fil-A. 

"I love Chick-fil-A. I worked there through high school and college," Officer Robinson said. 

School Principal Jessie Becker said this commitment shows that not only teachers care about the kids future, but all the officers of CMPD and the entire community are behind them.

"I saw one kid reading a story about dinosaurs, which we all know those names of dinosaurs are difficult to say, even as an adult.. And he's over there pronouncing it out and he's doing a great job," Officer Robinson said. 

Sitting down with a child, reading with them, looking them in their eye, also goes a long way at breaking down barriers.

"These kids they're at that young age where they're so easily influenced....it makes them realize that police officers are great people," Officer Robinson said. 

The book drive is not just a passion project for Officer Robinson, it's year round. She, like many of the officers, tutor kids once a week by reading to them. It's one of the reasons she became a police officer.

"Yeah, that's part of the reason. This is what people did for me growing up, so I want to give back," she said. 

Officers with the Hickory Grove Division know they're getting results. They're making a difference in young people's lives for the better. 

"When it's good for us to be able to do something positive and to give these kids something so small to some people and so big to them, it's a blessing," she said. 

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