LANCASTER — The Rotary Club of Lancaster donated 30 books to Lancaster High School counselor Debbie Penny.
Penny asked whether the Rotary Club would consider donating copies of the Youth for Youth Mental Health Guidebook.
Subtitled “Letters to Strangers,” the book was written by 14- to 21-year-olds from around the world. They discuss the importance of mental health and social emotional issues.
“It would be the perfect resource for students during these difficult times with COVID since many are dealing with many issues related to mental health,” President Celia Gray said during the club’s Thursday night meeting.
The Rotary Club of Lancaster received a donation of 30 books valued at about $750.
Penny originally received a copy of the book from past District Governor Randy Pote. Pote learned about the book after hearing the author speak during a Zoom meeting.
Penny met Pote when they were stopped to assist the same man experiencing homelessness.
“Randy and I just became friends,” Penny said. “We met in the desert.”
Penny gave a brief talk about how the pandemic has affected students.
“Everything that has come from COVID has created so much trauma for our students,” Penny said.
Penny recalled a study by a Canadian psychiatrist who said literary fiction lifts you up and boosts empathy.
“As we know, people rise to the occasion,” Penny said. “Showing empathy to students is really going to help to build that trust and show them the support they need. It just takes time, support and investment.”
Penny added they appreciate the club’s generosity.