2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners

  • GRAND PRIZE – 2021 Freedom Through Literacy

    Grand Prize Award – $2,500

    Angela Chalkiopoulou, “Alice in Writer’s Land”

    Writing, dancing, drawing, prancing… these are just a few activities you might see in educator Angela Chalkiopoulou’s classroom. Using the power of creativity and inquiry, Ms. Chalkiopoulou’s Alice in Writer’s Land project helps foster both a sense of wonder and resilience in the children of Limassol,Cyprus. Children explore the protagonist’s journey,guided by multimedia and questions that help them examine the story’s theme while developing their social and emotional skills.

    Chalkiopoulou’s educational approach has since garnered nominations for national awards and serves as a foundation for a permanent collaboration with libraries in Ptolemaida and at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia.

    It is our greatest honor to add to that list and award Angela Chalkiopoulou as the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award for jumping down the rabbit hole of creativity and learning with her inventive, inspirational program.


    “This award is a testimony to the significant role that literacy plays in obtaining freedom, self esteem,human values and future hope. Literature is the absolute source of inspiration, the joy of human intellect, when combined with ingenious art and multimedia tool kits, it can transform a classroom into a small collaborating and learning society, offering the prospect of a hopeful future for all of us.”
                                                                                                       -Angela Chalkiopoulou



  • JUDITH’S AWARD – 2021 Freedom Through Literacy

    Judith’s Award – $1,500

    Joicki Floyd – “Y.O.U.T.H. (You Open Up Then Heal)”

    With her philosophy of “reading is fun-to-da-mental (fundamental),” Ms. Joicki Floyd began her Y.O.U.T.H. program to enable students in finding motivation, positivity, and a love of reading in the face of difficulty. Y.O.U.T.H. works with students who may not see themselves as readers and uses strategies like Socratic Seminars, discussion panels with city officials, and open mics, to spark change in their mindsets. A crucial element is Joicki’s engagement with the community; to her, seeing your neighbor or local store owner with a book in hand is as important as working directly with students. If everyone is a reader, it’s easy to join the club. We warmly recognize Joicki as winner of the 2021 Judith’s Award for her investment in building a culture of support and reading in her community.

    “If you build libraries in the hearts of the youth, you will empower them with points of reference that may change the trajectory of their lives.”– Joicki Floyd
  • Board Option Award-Sue Goatley-2021 Freedom Through Literacy

    Board Option Award – $400

    Sue Goatley – “Jabulani Community Literacy Programme”

    Often times, a student without the proper support early in their schooling, may struggle to obtain the foundational literacy skills to advance their formal education. Sue Goatley, with her organization Children in the Wilderness, established an after school community literacy program for teenagers to change that outcome in the rural Zambezi region. We honor Sue with a Board Option Award to support her efforts in bringing essential reading skills to Zimbabwean youth.

    “We look forward to adding vital literary resources to the library. The addition of books both from an adult literacy and locally relevant perspective will create long lasting impacts for this group that will be felt for years to come.” – Sue Goatley

  • Board Option Award-Derek Witmer-2021 Freedom Through Literacy

    Board Option Award – $300

    Derek Witmer – “Diversity and Inclusion Library”

    Second grade teacher Derek Witmer’s care and attention for honoring his students and their experiences has led to the creation of a curated library of books addressing important topics such as general diversity, acceptance, gender identity,and familial make ups. In recognition of his compassion, we award Derek with a Board Option Award

    “Literature has the power to change the world, and I’m glad to be able to have an impact on the upcoming generations.” – Derek Witmer




  • Board Option Award-Lisa Gerard-2021 Freedom Through Literacy

    Board Option Award – $300

    Lisa Gerard – “Little Read Wagon”

    Tackling communities with “book deserts” in the town of Norman,Oklahoma, Lisa Gerard began a mini library at a local laundromat in 2020. From there, the reading ball started rolling!Since that laundromat library, Lisa has added a lending library and a volunteer program in order to collect and distribute culturally relevant books at community events. In just one year,Lisa has distributed more than 10,000 books to children and adults. We proudly award Lisa a Board Option Award to celebrate her work towards building a reading community.

    This outreach program engages and inspires a great love for reading with a passionate ambition.” – Lisa Gerard

  • Honorable Mentions-2021 Freedom Through Literacy

    Honorable Mentions

    Lisette Caesar – “Mirroring Our Kids
    EAST HARLEM, NEW YORKLisette’s steadfast efforts to create libraries that reflect her students
    and their lives earns
    her an Honorable Mention.

    CBS NY clip on Lisette Caesar’s “brainchild” Book Vending Machine at Mosaic Prep Academy in NY

    Simon Ke – “Mobile Library Project”

    We honor Simon Ke and the Mobile Library Project at Anjali House for reaching
    over 850 children in
    Siem Reap with an Honorable Mention.



  • Donate Now

    We ask that you please make a donation to Judith’s Reading Room, in support of our ongoing recognition of what is being accomplished in the great world of literacy, as well as funding our shipment of children’s books, both domestically and internationally.