Student Spotlight: Sohayle Sizar
by Kathleen Toohill | University of Notre Dame
Georgetown University sophomore Sohayle Sizar said he believes literacy doesn’t have a specific tongue, eye color or hair color.
That is why Bring on the Books, the national book drive Sizar is running this spring, accepts books in every language. The drive is based out of Georgetown and also involves Stanford University, the University of Pittsburgh and the White House.
Sizar said he aims to provide new and gently used books to children who might not otherwise have exposure to childrens’ books at home. The drive began on March 9 and runs through April 23, according to a Georgetown press release.
Sizar, who is originally from outside of Philadelphia, said he began his involvement with literacy drives as a sophomore in high school.
“I went to a fortunate high school, and many new textbooks were going to be thrown out,” he said. “I got these books to schools in Philadelphia, and that was the beginning of it.”
Sizar said he interned for a judge in Philadelphia and used his experience and connections from his internship to help donate some of the books he collected to the court system. Sizar transferred to Georgetown from the University of Pittsburgh, and this year is the first time Bring on the Books at Georgetown is part of the drive.
“The biggest thing I believe in is bringing something like this onto other campuses,” Sizar said.
Sizar said the value of the books donated since he began his efforts totals over $105,000. The average drive collects around 3,000 books, he said.
“College students can make a difference, and it doesn’t take money to do it,” Sizar said. “We can share those stories with other people, and it doesn’t cost us anything.”
Sizar said he hopes these donated books will serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement for the children who receive them.
“Books for me were new worlds,” he said.
Sizar is majoring in government and minoring in music and sociology. In terms of his plans for after college, he said, “The only definite plan that I have is working to give those in need the opportunities they deserve, whether it be in the world of literacy or the world of education.”
Sizar said college students hoping to give back to their communities should find the area of volunteering they are most interested in.
“So if you are passionate about a topic, share it with others,” he said. “If you are concerned about an issue, enlighten others. Whatever it is, find what you love and offer your interest, dedication and compassion to those who may not have what you are blessed with.”Kathleen is a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is majoring in English and minoring in journalism and is currently an editorial intern at Notre Dame Magazine. She worked as an editorial intern at San Diego Magazine and a news intern at CBS News 8 this past summer. She works for Notre Dame's student magazine and coordinates high school visitation weekends for the Notre Dame admissions office.