15:07 PM

Social work student organizes book drive for autism center

Cassandra Sarmiento's field internship at Texas Children's Hospital's Meyer Center for Autism has taught her how to assess families and help them find more resources and support. It also inspired her to do more for the child who is a patient, as well as for the patient's siblings, so she decided to create a book drive so all the children who come to the clinic can stay occupied and engaged while they're waiting for services or to see the doctor.

"Typically when the kids came to the clinic, they received a toy," she said. "Now, with the pandemic, we can't give them toys, so I'd like to be able to give the patient as well as his or her siblings that come along a book so they can read in their free time till we can get the toys back."

Sarmiento, who is receiving her Bachelor of Social Work in May 2021, has organized a book drive, complete with an Amazon wish list. "We will be taking books till Dec. 7," she said. "I'd like to bring the books to the kids at the clinic the next day."

Assistant Professor of Social Work Roberta Leal said that the book drive is sponsored by various student organizations, including the Social Work Student Organization, Latin and Indigenous Students Taking Action, and the Women's Studies Student Association. "The books are for children ages 3-18 and can be new or gently used," she said. "One of the requests is for more Spanish-language books. The wish list consists of many Latino/x authors, translated classic children's books, and bilingual, culturally appropriate books."

Books can be delivered via Amazon directly to Sarmiento's address. For students, faculty or staff on campus at the Clear Lake location who wish to drop off books, there is a book collection box by Suite 2617 in the Bayou Building.

Donate to the book drive via the Amazon wish list. For more information about UHCL's Social Work program, go online.