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      Kirksville native shares love for reading in Ethiopia

      Ben Rearick

      A Kirksville native is sharing his love of reading with children in Ethiopia.

      Ben Rearick, a 2010 graduate from Truman State University, is now working with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. Rearick, who was an English major, joined the Peace Corps to see if teaching English would be something that he would be interested in.

      "I'm in a small town of about 6,000 people and I'm teaching English, training English teachers and trying to teach kids," Rearick said.

      Reading has always been something that Rearick has loved, and now he is thrilled that he can share his passion with others.

      "Reading is very important to me. I read growing up. I was always the first one at the Adair County Public Library to sign up for the summer reading program and to introduce something like this to the people of my town will mean a lot to me," added Rearick.

      The avid reader has created a program called 'A Seed for Reading'. By doing this, Rearick hopes that the children in the Ethiopian town will too develop a love for books. He also hopes that 'A Seed for Reading' will improve the library.

      "I've raised $6,000 to buy 2,000 books as well as some other materials for the library. They have a fully functioning library right now, but part of their culture is they don't allow kids to check out books, and don't have a lot of training for librarians," said Rearick.

      The library at the school that Rearick is currently working at only had reference books, which children would not find fun to read, which is why he decided to make the change.

      "I just wanted to have reading be for fun, something to introduce to them so they could learn on their own and learn both in their own language as well as English," added Rearick.

      Rearick has been back in Kirksville to enjoy a short vacation with family, but will be heading back to Ethiopia in September. He had only been in Ethiopia for six months when he decided to establish the 'Seed for Reading' program. He is excited to see the program grow over the coming months when he is back teaching English.