PRESS RELEASE - NOVEMBER 25, 2015

Book Drive
Members of the ASCC Psychology Club donated approximately 200 books and magazines to the Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, who will in turn convey these reading materials to the library at the Tafuna Correctional Facility. The Psychology Club held a two-week book drive on the ASCC campus to collect materials for the donation. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Psychology Club Holds Book Drive for TCF Library

November 25, 2015

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

On Monday, November 23, members of the Psychology Club at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) donated over 200 books to the Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (ASADSV), who will in turn add them to the collection of the library currently being planned for the Tafuna Correctional Facility. The Psychology Club spent the last two weeks manning a table set up in the Quad area of the ASCC campus, where students, faculty and staff were welcome to donate any books or magazines they no longer had use for.

“A really influential book can really change someone’s life for the better,” said Psychology instructor and club advisor Mr. Derek Helsham, “and our club members are always interested in ways to help people change for the better.” Alliance personnel Mrs. Frances Thomsen and Mrs. Mona Uli-Lopez welcomed Helsham and a large group of Psychology Club members at the Alliance office in Nuuuli, where the ASCC students presented more than a dozen boxes full of books they had collected. “I applaud your passion and drive to help make our community a better place,” said Mrs. Thomsen in her welcoming remarks. “Reading has so many benefits,” added Mrs. Uli-Lopez, “that simply having material to engage the mind could play a big part in helping someone turn their life around.”

Helsham explained that the Psychology Club intends to keep public service at the core of its priorities. "One of the learning outcomes I try to emphasize for the club is recognizing the relevance of being responsible and participating actively in family and community. I cannot think of a better way for them to develop personally and responsibly than serving in the community. The book drive is just one example of many ways we can serve,” he reflected. “It‘s an opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom. In this case they learn that even people in prison need an opportunity to change through searching for knowledge, which is what we encourage in the ASCC motto ‘Saili Le Atamai.’”

Psychology Club Vice President Brittany Tago echoed the theme of empowerment. “The experience of organizing the book drive within our club and coordinating with the Alliance was really valuable,” she said, “and so was the knowledge that we’re giving a path to power and freedom to men and women in prison through the books we collected, giving them the opportunity to exercise their minds. Although they are confined behind bars, their imaginations can still know a degree of freedom.”

Helsham said the club plans to engage in future projects that involve both Psychology and community service. “The majority of the ideas come from my club officers and members,” he explained.  “I’m just their advisor giving guidance to their practice.”  The Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is still accepting book and magazine donations, and can be contacted at 699-0272.