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Young Columbus Woman's Love of Books Pays Off for Inner-City Students

COLUMBUS (Terri Sullivan) -- A young woman's love affair with books is paying off big time for a Columbus elementary school.

You could say Erin O'Neil's gesture has many students turning over a new leaf.

On Friday, she donated hundreds of new and gently used books to the students of Hamilton Stem Elementary
School in East Columbus.

Each child was able to take home four or five books.

The college freshman has collected and given away books to children in Columbus City Schools for the past eight years.

"I volunteered in a classroom in third grade at one of the inner-city schools that my mom is a nurse at," said O'Neil.

"And in fourth grade, I decided that ... I realized I wanted to share my love for reading with kids that might not necessarily have enough books at home to pleasure read."

She says reading offers opportunity and can help these youngsters become the person they want to be. 

"I just like talking to them, getting to know them and seeing their faces light up when they realize that they can take them home and that they're theirs."
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