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Thomas J. Garland Library at Tusculum donates 65 books to Free Will Baptist Family Ministries

The Thomas J. Garland Library at Tusculum University has extended its connection with the community with a donation of 65 books to Free Will Baptist Family Ministries.
Kathy Hipps, the library’s director, recently presented the books to Cecilia Hamilton, administrator of residential services, and Dustin Collins, principal of Stokes Academy, a school for children who are living on the organization’s Greeneville campus.
Collins said Family Ministries was grateful for the books.
“As soon as one of our young men saw one of the books, he said, ‘I want this one,’” Collins said. “That is exciting because it will give him a chance to read something that he’s probably never had a chance to experience. I will be able to integrate the books into our various daily literature assignments as well. Without donations, an organization such as Free Will Baptist Family Ministries would not be able to accomplish our goals due to limited funds.”
Hipps said Tusculum had extra books in its juvenile literature collection and was pleased to share them. She concluded Family Ministries would be an ideal organization to receive them because of its assistance to children and role in education. She said this donation aligned with the university’s mission elements of providing a caring Christian environment and demonstrating civic engagement.
“Watching the boys with the books as we delivered them and knowing how these young men will grow in their knowledge from this donation is exciting and fulfilling,” Hipps said. “As an educational institution and member of the community, Tusculum embraces the opportunity to assist these students. They are at an important juncture in their lives, and we are pleased to advance their learning.”
Hamilton said Family Ministries’ residential program provides housing for boys 12-18 who are in the state’s custody either due to family circumstances they did not create or because of acts they committed. They stay while they receive services, such as an assessment that enables Free Will Baptist Family Ministries to recommend to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services the best next home placement for them.
The organization also has an independent living program on campus for 18-year-old males who are no longer in the state’s custody because they are adults but recognize they could still benefit from assistance with life skills as they transition to adulthood and learn to be on their own, Hamilton said.
The academy teaches all state-mandated classes.
“As principal, I’m trying to prepare these young men, who oftentimes have limited school credits and have had a negative experience with education, and try to help them progress,” Collins said. “A lot of them struggle with standard academics, so we use different processes to get them access to materials that will help them. Thanks to wonderful donations like this from Tusculum, we are able to provide opportunities for them to see, learn and read about things they otherwise would not.”
Cecilia Hamilton, left, and Dustin Collins, middle, joined Kathy Hipps for the presentation of the books from the Thomas J. Garland Library at Tusculum University to the Free Will Baptist Family Ministries.