Senior Hannah Roberts will be at the Ogletree House Sunday afternoon hosting a “Princess for Pages” event. “Pages of Love” is a non-profit book donation program that she has been working on for the past ten years. -Printz Archive
A chemistry major with an emphasis in biochemistry and a minor in biology, Miss University of Southern Mississippi Hannah Roberts takes the phrase “girl power” to a whole new level.
Not only is she disciplined in her studies, but Roberts also finds time to give children the opportunity to indulge in one of her favorite pastimes: reading.
As a child, Roberts spent much time in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices. It was in those offices that she began to realize her love for reading. So, in 2005, after noticing a lack of reading materials in doctors’ offices, she started a non-profit organization called Pages of Love.
“Pages of Love is a non-profit book donation program that collects new or gently used children’s books,” Roberts said. “These books are cleaned, given a stamp or sticker with the organization’s information and are then donated to hospitals and clinics around the Southeast.”
Since its foundation in 2005, Pages of Love has collected and donated over 20,000 books. Roberts received her first donation from her own book collection of roughly 50 books.
“Pages of Love has definitely made me incredibly grateful for my health and also for my literacy,” she said. “We often take for granted these simplistic attributes, but through my many hospital visits and donations I have seen, firsthand, how blessed I am in these areas.”
One of the most inspiring moments Roberts experienced occurred when she was in high school. Months after donating a large amount of books to Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson, Roberts received a letter from a very grateful mother of a patient at the hospital.
The young patient and her mother then hand-delivered hundreds of donated books to Pages of Love.
“This moment truly taught me about the impact that something as simple as a book can create,” Roberts said.
She is also a firm believer that women can pursue and achieve careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Girls should be encouraged to investigate these areas early in life when they are still making decisions about what they want to be when they grow up,” Roberts said.
Like the heroine of her favorite novel, “Jane Eyre,” Roberts is another woman who is paving the way for women across the world.
During the rest of her reign as Miss USM, Roberts hopes to donate 10,000 more books through Pages of Love. So far, she has donated 2,000.
“I believe that a book can allow a child to forget about an unpleasant situation — at least for a moment — and enjoy the gift of reading,” she said.
To get involved with or donate to Pages of Love, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.