Dayton students hoping to ‘unify community’ donate 700+ books to Montgomery County jail and Ruskin Elementary

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Students United (DSU) is a 100 percent student-led organization based in Dayton but spanning across nine different school districts.

More than 100 students are ambassadors for the organization that has been participating in several different community service activities since May.

The teens are hoping to spark a chain reaction for change and say they’ve been motivated by the COVID crisis to advocate for equality for all.

“We’re just a bunch of teenagers who decided that COVID was one of the best times to put our best foot forward and try to make our community a better place,” said Jae-Hee Bae, one of the organization members.

“[Discomfort] is the breeding place for change,” said Mohammad Mustafa, another member. “This is the time that we step out of our comfort zone and we come to unify our communities through collaborative efforts.”

Some of the community service projects already completed by the group include writing thank-you cards for essential workers, performing for seniors in nursing homes, and a “Shawshank” book drive to bring books to Montgomery County inmates.

“We are mostly worried about the incarcerated individuals who are very isolated. We wanted to get them a resource to find the comfort of reading and also find the education,” explained Bae.

Their latest project includes another book drive, this time in collaboration with Ruskin Elementary School in Dayton. They’ve collected more than 700 books for reading levels and people of all ages.

“This is really different from anything else you can get in the Dayton area,” said Sara Joly, another DSU member. “The youth activism that we participate in, I think it allows us to connect more with the people who are helping.”

The group is not stopping there. In the future they plan to partner with area schools to provide free online tutoring for students in the 4th to 9th grades.

“Anyone can do this as long as they have the passion for change and they have the drive and the effort that it takes to drive that change,” said Mustafa.

For more information on Dayton Students United, click here.

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