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Niagara University Professor Donating Book Proceeds To Vietnamese Orphanage
Families, People, Schools
Niagara University Professor Donating Book Proceeds To Vietnamese Orphanage

A disparity in earning power can make it more difficult for an English professor to financially support a cause than, say, a doctor, lawyer or C.E.O.

Nevertheless, Joseph Little, Ph.D., may have found a way to circumvent those economics.

The associate professor of English at Niagara University will donate all of the author royalties from the first 10 years of sales of his forthcoming memoir –Letters from the Other Side of Silence – to the Friendship Village, a Vietnamese orphanage.

Founded in 1992 by American veteran George Mizo, Friendship Village (located in Hanoi, Vietnam) serves as a home, school and clinic for approximately 120 children and young adults living with moderate to severe disabilities owing to Agent Orange.

Dr. Little sits on the nonprofit’s eight-person board of directors. His involvement with the Friendship Village stems from some volunteer work that he and his wife, Samantha, conducted there during a backpacking trip a few years ago. Dr. Little said that he felt a connection to the organization and stayed in touch upon returning home.

Within a couple months, Dr. Little found himself on the board, a role that involves fundraising for the Friendship Village. Thus, with his new book on the way, he decided to put his money where his pen is.

“As an English professor, I find it hard to contribute to the needs of folks in developing countries in concrete ways,” Dr. Little explained. “Offering the royalties of my book to the Village is the most direct way I can contribute, and in a way that is well aligned with the Vincentian spirit underlying the second half of the book’s trajectory.”

The Vincentian spirit Dr. Little refers to is Niagara University’s St. Vincent de Paul-inspired mission of serving the poor and oppressed. NU students contribute more than 1,000 hours per week of community service during the academic year.

Dr. Little learned that his book would be published by Homebound Publications while leading NU students on an eight-day backpacking trip in the highlands of Guatemala. Five years in the making, Letters from the Other Side of Silence will be released in paperback form, for the Nook and Kindle, and as an audiobook in March 2017, and be distributed in about 10 countries.

The book, a spiritual memoir at heart, chronicles the author’s search for a sustainable life after slipping into a deep mystical state atop Pacaya, an active volcano in Guatemala. His journey takes him to the Himalayas, where he develops a relationship with the mountains that borders on addiction, and later on an 800-mile road trip from Buffalo to St. Louis to have coffee with a wilderness theologian. At the close of the memoir, readers join Dr. Little at the Friendship Village, where he begins to realize the wholeness of a spirituality that intertwines contemplative practice with devotion to others.

Now in his 10th year at NU, Dr. Little holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota. He earned his Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer and information sciences at Niagara.

Donations to the Friendship Village can be made at www.crowdrise.com/thefriendshipfund.

More information on Niagara University’s English programs is available at www.niagara.edu/english.

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