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UW-Eau Claire alumna to host benefit event Oct. 13 for international literacy

October 11, 2012
FBTBNica
Nicaraguan children in a library developed by the From Books to Brilliance organization.
EAU CLAIRE —A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumna will host an event Oct. 13 to raise funds to promote literacy in impoverished communities.

Maggie Covill, a 2012 Spanish business/professional graduate from Chippewa Falls, co-founded the nonprofit organization From Books to Brilliance in 2007 during her time at UW-Eau Claire. FBTB works toward the goal of international literacy by providing access to books and other literacy materials to those in underprivileged areas.

FBTB will host a silent auction from 7-9:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Eau Claire Children's Theatre. Many native, handmade textiles and pieces of art from communities in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Bolivia, as well as local products and art native to the Eau Claire area will be up for auction.

Covill and two others founded the organization after noticing a severe lack of books and literacy materials in rural Nicaragua while on a medical mission trip. Their goal then became providing access to these materials in order to promote literacy.

"I believe that literacy is one of the most important skills a person can have," Covill said. "Not being able to read can be severely debilitating and can lead to a life of limited opportunity and hope. Access to books and literacy materials can give people the tools to become literate and in-control of their own education, future and prosperity."

Since 2007 FBTB has created three libraries in rural Nicaragua and one in New Mexico, and has started two literacy projects in rural Guatemala. These libraries serve rural communities where books and literacy materials were previously nearly nonexistent.

Although creating libraries is a seemingly simple and straightforward idea, it can be both a rewarding and demanding task, Covill said.

"Building a library requires a lot of hard work that may include purchasing hundreds of books in one afternoon, spending days doing inventory, carrying buckets of paint on bikes without brakes through muddy, rural roads or simply taking long breaks to play and perform 'book approval' with the children," she said.

However, the results of the libraries and literacy projects make all the effort worthwhile, according to Covill.

"My favorite moments are when the children take their first steps into the libraries, look around at the books and materials and realize that it is all for them — they now have a place to come read, study, play and plan for their brighter future," she said.

For more information about the Oct. 13 event or the From Books to Brilliance organization, contact Maggie Covill at covillmm@uwec.edu or 715-530-4724, or visit the organization's website.

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OJ/DW

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