Marietta, Ga. – Dec. 15, 2016)
Students in Jennifer Staton’s World Literature class are giving back in a big way this holiday season after authoring and illustrating a children’s book for Chattahoochee Tech’s community partner Love and Grace Ministry, an Ellijay-based Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to addressing the causes of poverty and injustice in Haiti.
An official book launch for “Seeking Scruffy” was held on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the Mountain View Campus in Marietta. The book was written, illustrated and designed as part of a service learning project. At Chattahoochee Technical College, the Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement is committed to supporting efforts to combine academic instruction with service in the community in order to assist students in pursuing educational, career, and personal goals.
“Last year, my class did a toy drive and collected about 500 toys for children in need. The problem with that, however, was that the nonprofit had to pay to send the toys to Haiti,” Staton said. “We had to figure out another way to help the organization, so, after brainstorming, we came up with a tangible idea for the nonprofit. What better way to learn about World Literature than to write a book?”
Staton’s class began to research the Haitian culture and determined that the book needed to be geared toward children. Student Sarah Stiefler of Marietta said the creative group bounced ideas off of one another and came up with “Seeking Scruffy.” The self-published book tells the story of a dog that gets separated from his owner, and, while trying to find him again, learns a valuable lesson about compassion, generosity and love.
“The organization asked for the book to follow Christian morals. Our creative group found a biblical verse that crossed all religions – it says that no matter where people go, God is there helping,” Staton said. “That’s the storyline of the book. No matter where Scruffy goes, he learns that his owner still loves him.”
Stiefler said she enjoyed watching the book come together, as it is written in both English and Haitian Creole.
“It was very interesting to see how we blended everyone’s ideas. We are all of different ages so it was neat to see the diversity in our thoughts,” she said. “Through this process, I’ve learned to sit back and listen to everyone. As an older person in the group, it was easy to direct, but once I sat back and listened, I learned a lot more.”
The book, which was illustrated by CTC student Soon Han of Marietta, is available at Amazon.com. For every book purchased, a copy will be donated to a Haitian child.