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Women’s Discussion Group Student Club Collaborates with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society to Donate Books to Broome County Jail Family Literacy Program

In celebration of literacy and supporting educational efforts for those in prison, SUNY Broome’s Women’s Discussion Group, a student group focusing on women’s issues, donated four boxes of books to the Broome County Jail Family Literacy Program on December 7, 2021 This project was a collaboration with the SUNY Broome Women’s Discussion Group and the campus’ two-year international honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. Broome County Jail Chaplain Reverend Doctor Cris Mogenson who directs the family literacy program accepted the donation on behalf of the program.

Faculty Adviser, Professor I.J. Byrnes of the Philosophy Program, noted that the project was inspired by reading Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman, a nonfiction memoir by the author who spent a year in prison on drug charges.

WDG members and Faculty Adviser Professor I.J. Byrnes decided to support this literary and rehabilitative project in light of the skyrocketing increase of the number of Americans, particularly women, behind bars since the 1980’s, the problems faced by the children of single women in jail and the correlation of imprisonment and mental health and addiction issues among inmates.

PTK President Angela Gonzalez said, “I believe in encouraging literacy and personal growth through reading, a good book can be the doorway to new opportunities.

PTK Vice- President Maria Cascarino noted, “My peers and I were excited to hear about this charitable opportunity. These kind donations provide inmates in confinement with enriching, enlightening literature, and I am happy to have taken part in a project that benefits my local community and beyond.

The SUNY Broome Women’s Discussion Group and Phi Theta Kapa would like to acknowledge and thank the book donors involved in this project:

  • Professor I.J. Byrnes
  • PTK and WDG Officer Angela Gonzalez
  • PTK and WDG Officer Vice President Maria Cascarino
  • PTK and WDG Officer Henry Bremer
  • Alumnus Orion Barber

The SUNY Broome Women’s Discussion Group would also like to thank the following campus community members for their help and support with this project:

  • Dr. Jeffrey Anderson
  • Cheryl Sullivan
  • Rose Pero
  • Patricia Collins
  • Daniel Myers
  • David Ligeikis
  • Christopher Novitsky
  • Matthew Wightman
  • Brian Arnold
  • Justin Hawley
  • Sandy Hackel

Submitted by: Irene Byrnes