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Student Passionate about Philanthropy Makes Gift to Benefit Early Childhood Learning

January 30, 2014

Filed Under: Students

Florida State University Criminology and Criminal Justice graduate student Victoria Underwood may take these words of her Delta Zeta Sorority creed to heart more than most:

To those whom my life may touch in slight measure,

May I give graciously

Of what is mine.

As an Alpha Sigma chapter member, Underwood has pledged to support the organization’s philanthropic goal of donating $10,000 per year for five years toward the College of Communication & Information School of Communication Science & Disorders’ planned Integrated Preschool Program. She has committed $1,000 of her own resources to support the program.

As a child, Underwood experienced significant hearing loss in one ear and struggled in school as a result. “Thankfully, I had a teacher who worked with me to not just learn how to read but to excel in reading and everything I do,” she said. The difference that teacher made in her educational experiences was immeasurable. Underwood completed a bachelor’s to master’s program in criminology last summer and has begun a Ph.D. program in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Contributing to a project as worthwhile as the Integrated Preschool Program is important to Underwood because she understands the value of children of all ability levels having access to the learning tools they need to succeed. When funded, the preschool will allow typically developing children and those with communication impairments to work and play together, aiding their development and bridging the gap between those with disabilities and those who do not. The preschool also will serve as a training tool for Florida State students, allowing collaboration and advanced clinical experiences for students in a range of disciplines, including communications, education, special education and psychology. Students and faculty members will take advantage of research opportunities in early language and literacy interventions for children with speech and language impairments.

Delta Zeta’s national philanthropy focuses on speech and hearing, and the Florida State chapter’s work with the School of Communication Science & Disorders blends seamlessly with the sorority’s goals of effecting positive change through fundraising and volunteering for speech and hearing projects. The local organization already has completed a five-year, $25,000 endowment for the L.L. Schendel Clinic, which provides community services to improve the communication abilities of clients and provides a teaching and clinical lab setting for professionals and students.

Underwood is passionate about the philanthropic efforts of her sorority but encourages all students to get involved with projects that are meaningful to them.

“Projects and charities that are important to you are worth getting involved with,” she said. “You do not have to give a lot to make a significant difference in the lives of others.”

Credit: Susan Sigman (850) 645-8844