Students hope to influence children’s lives from ‘Cover to Cover’

A group of students at the UI have brought ‘Cover to Cover’ — a student organization that brings children in the hospital blankets and books — to campus.


Katina Zentz

From left: UI freshmen Kyle Braeseke and Autumn Johnson cut a blanket during the Cover to Cover event at the IMU on Monday, October 29, 2018. Cover to Cover is a student organization dedicated to providing children in need with blankets and books. (Katina Zentz/The Daily Iowan)

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

In 2013, two families in the Quad Cities came together during the holiday season to create Cover to Cover, a program that provides blankets and books for sick children.

What began with simple donations to schools to promote literacy will now come to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, expanding from the Quad Cities to Iowa City.

UI student Kaylie Barnett, the president of Cover to Cover in Iowa City, discovered the opportunity and decided the UI could use Cover to Cover to help children in the area and, hopefully, partner with other student organizations to continue the momentum.

Barnett is part of a four-member executive board, all of whom she identified as excellent student leaders who love to take part in the process with her.

The four positions currently include Barnett as president, UI student Javon Stovall as vice president, an event planner, and volunteer manager. A treasurer will be added as the group forms and more events are planned.

The student organization kicked off with a Spooky Launch Party Monday evening in the IMU Hawkeye Room, in which volunteers were able to create blanket-book kits for the first time.

Cover to Cover also plans to staff an information table on the T. Anne Cleary Walkway toward the end of the semester.

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“We have decided to do one big fundraiser to start off each month,” Barnett said. “Following the fundraiser to be able to purchase fabric and books, we will have our volunteer event at the end of the month to make the blanket-book kits.”

The group is seeking donations of children’s books and fabric for the blankets, and it will continue to host fundraiser events in hopes of securing sufficient donations each month.

“Our main source will be purchasing from Joann Fabrics and buying $1 books from Scholastic Book Fairs,” Barnett said.

Barnett said anyone is welcome to become a volunteer and can contact her or any executive member for more information.

“We are always looking to partner with more student organizations,” Stovall said. “If any organization needs volunteer opportunities, we would love to become more involved in conversations.”

The group hopes to spark some collaboration with Dance Marathon, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Medicus, and other organizations with similar missions.

“We’re super-excited to be able to expand to Iowa City and for the affiliation with the university,” said Melissa Kitchen, a cofounder of Cover to Cover in the Quad Cities. “I am thankful for Kaylie to be able to connect us, and we are encouraged with the fact that people are so interested in our mission.”

Kitchen said she is proud to have Cover to Cover at the UI and hopes it will engage in all that the university has to offer.

“We are blessed to be in such a great community,” Stovall said. “We know that here at Iowa, we’ve got the love covered.”