2021 Freedom Through Literacy Awards Announced

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

2021 Freedom Through Literacy Awards Announced

Winning Applications Highlighted Exceptional Creativity and Impact

 

July 22, 2021 — Ms. Angela Chalkiopoulou, Limassol, Cyprus, declared Grand Prize Winner of the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award.   Chalkiopoulou, an educator, dominated the field of applicants with her literacy project, “Alice in Writer’s Land,” winning her the top prize of $2,500.  A colleague described Angela as “a future literacy marvel and an excellent example of how creative teachers can turn inspiration into action, changing the way children perceive themselves towards literacy.” Alice in Writer’s Land collaborates with artists, educators, writers and illustrators—introducing the children of Cyprus to the writer’s way of thinking. “Literature is the absolute source of inspiration, the joy of human intellect, when combined with ingenious art and multimedia toolkits, it can transform a classroom into a small collaborating and learning society, offering the prospect of a hopeful future for all of us,” said Chalkiopoulou.

 

Ms. Joicki Floyd, Newark, New Jersey wins the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy “Judith’s Award.”    Floyd, a high school teacher whose literacy initiative “Y.O.U.T.H.” (You Open Up Then Heal) seeks to transform the lives of inner city children and their families through reading is awarded $1,500.  Joicki’s creative program includes the use of Socratic Seminars and discussion panels with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.  She articulated the essential idea that in books, youth who lack hope and positive influences, can find positive motivation, examples and influences.  “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,” stated Floyd.  The Judith’s Award is named in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian who dedicated her career at the American Library Association to protecting the freedom of speech.

 

At the discretion of Judith’s Reading Room’s Board Members, each year, $1,000, is set aside for Board Option Awards to recognize high-scoring applicants.  The winners of the 2021 Board Option Award are:

 

Ms. Sue Goatley, nonprofit leader, Children in the Wilderness, “Jabulani Community Literacy Programme,” in the Zambezi Region, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  Goatley, a 2019 Board Option Award winner and recipient of Judith’s Reading Room’s 100th library dedicated July 2021 at Ziga Primary School, has once again captured the judges’ attention with her acute description — and solution — of adult illiteracy.  She writes, “Seeing a young child struggle learning to read can often seem like an uphill battle.  However, a truly heart-breaking scene is watching a young teen, new into high school, staring blankly at a page.”  Goatley’s community literacy program at Jululani Primary School is an evening program available to teenagers and adults with any level of literacy.  It also offers an opportunity for teachers to earn additional income.  For her work to de-stigmatize adult illiteracy in isolated and rural Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, Goatley wins a 2021 Board Option Award in the amount of $400.

 

Ms. Lisa Gerard, founder, Little Read Wagon, in Norman, Oklahoma.  In 2020, Gerard had a kernel of an idea that grew into an ambitious grassroots outreach effort to supply new and donated books to children living in “book desert communities” in Norman and surrounding areas.  Lisa built a mini “library” at a local laundromat then added a lending library and a volunteer program to collect and distribute culturally relevant books at community events.  In just one year, Gerard has distributed more than 10,000 books to children and adults.  Ms. Breea Clark, Mayor, City of Norman endorsed Gerard adding, “This outreach program engages and inspires a great love for reading with a passionate ambition in bridging the literacy gap in the Oklahoma City Metro area.” For her joyous, passionate and creative approach to getting books into the hands of her fellow citizens, Gerard wins a 2021 Board Option Award in the amount of $300.

 

Mr. Derek Witmer, 2nd Grade Teacher, “Diversity and Inclusion Library,” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Described by his Principal as “a conscientious and exemplary teacher, a true difference maker and a positive force in modern education,” Witmer initiated a collection of literature — a curated library — that touches on important topics such as general diversity, acceptance, gender identity, familial make ups, and SEL.    This 2nd grade teacher didn’t stop there.   Also included are stories where a student has a parent in prison, families dealing with immigration, language barriers and stories dealing with the loss of a parent.  He enhanced the library by creating resources and discussion cards for teachers.  It is no wonder that other schools in his district have reached out to him for help in adopting his Diversity and Inclusion Library.  Derek believes that “Literature has the power to change the world, and I’m glad to be able to have an impact on the upcoming generations.”  In recognition of his compassion toward students who experience and struggle through things that most of us can never truly understand, Witmer wins a 2021 Board Option Award in the amount of $300.

 

To encourage and propel certain 2021 applicants to continue their efforts and to re-apply for the 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award, the judges declared the following Honorable Mentions (no cash award):

 

Ms. Lisette Caesar, Educator, “Mirroring our Kids,” in East Harlem, New York.  Caesar’s project is to fill her classroom libraries with books that have protagonists that look like the children she educates.  She emphasizes, “Kids asking us to provide more books about their culture or with characters that look like them —  is a first for us.” In recognition of Caesar’s belief “that it is important that impressionable black and brown kids see themselves in positive ways in the books they read,” Judith’s Reading Room, through the Honorable Mention designation, wishes to give Caesar global recognition and encouragement.

 

Ms. Simon Ke, Executive Director, Anjali House, “Mobile Library Project,” in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Anjali House’s Mobile Library used tuk-tuks (a common mode of transportation in Cambodia) to reach over 850 students in remote villages.  COVID restrictions have prevented its expansion. In recognition of their community outreach, Judith’s Reading Room seeks to bring global attention to the literacy work currently “stopped in its tracks” in this well-known tourist destination near Angkor Wat, where Judith’s Reading Room dedicated a library in May 2013.

 

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging Freedom Through Literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 101 libraries (and counting!) in 22 countries with 130,500 books worth over $1.4 million.

 

The Freedom Through Literacy Award was initiated in 2015 as the organization’s signature event.  Including the 2021 winners, the organization will have disbursed $43,500 in cash awards to 40 unique champions of literacy.  Freedom Through Literacy Award winners — 2015-2021 — hail from the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe, Greece and Cyprus.

 

 

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Ziga Primary School (Finally) Opens – Judith’s Reading Room 100th library!

Very much delayed but with much gratitude and excitement, we have finally been able to call Ziga Primary School’s library the 100th Judith’s Reading Room library!  Due to schools been closed in Zimbabwe as a result of Covid-19 from March 2020 – March 2021, our much anticipated unveiling of Judith’s Reading Room’s 100th library at Ziga had to wait until we were able to visit schools again.

Thanks to the award that Ziga Primary won last year through Judith’s Reading Room, we were able to purchase 113 early reading books to add to the school library. The books were carefully chosen to suit the needs of the school and the students. There are just over 150 students enrolled at Ziga, from ages 5 – 14. Due to the low literacy levels in southern African schools, the Oxford University Press South Africa New Way early reading books provide an ideal platform from which to help students learn to read and gain comprehension skills. They have various levels that students can work through as they improve, and all the books are locally relevant stories full of pictures and bright colours. These were combined with other early reading books that have come highly recommended for southern Africa, creating a wonderful new addition of resources for the school library.

The books made a long journey themselves, all the way from Durban in South Africa, up to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. From Victoria Falls we then took them 230 kilometers to Ziga, which is located south of Hwange National Park on the western boundary of Zimbabwe.

Judith’s Reading Room partnered with the African non-profit organization, Children in the Wilderness, winner of its 2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Board Option Prize.   Thus began our relationship with Children in the Wilderness.  In 2020, Judith’s Reading Room and Children in the Wilderness agreed to dedicate a Judith’s Reading Room library, knowing that it would be the organization’s 100th library in its 22nd country.  Ziga Primary School, described as an outstanding pillar in their community — as its library also doubles as an adult literacy center — was chosen.  The original plan was to dedicate the library in August 2020, but the pandemic got in the way.  Schools in Zimbabwe closed in March 2020; children just returned to school for the first-time in a year.

A donation of US$500 to Children in the Wilderness resulted in the purchase of 113 level-specific books. Due to low literacy levels in southern African schools, books to help students learn to read and gain comprehension skills were of paramount importance.  “The distribution of these books came as such a welcome surprise to the teachers and students at Ziga,” said Sarah Adams, Children in the Wilderness’s Community Sustainability & Evaluation Trainer.  Sue Goatley, the organization’s Program Manager added, “We would like to say a huge thank you to Judith’s Reading Room for this wonderful gift that will continue to inspire children at Ziga for years to come.”

The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with more than 130,000 books donated worth US$1.4 million.

Applications for the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award, the organization’s signature annual event, is posted on its website at www.judithsreadingroom.org. The deadline for applications is fast approaching:  July 1, 2021.  Winners will be announced by the end of July.

 

 

 

Judith’s Reading Room’s 100th Library – Ziga Primary School (Finally) Opens

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Ziga Primary School (Finally) Opens its Judith’s Reading Room Library

Deadline for 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award Applications is July 1, 2021

 June 1, 2021 — Word came today that the 100th Judith’s Reading Room Library had finally opened.  The books made a long journey from Durban in South Africa where they were purchased, up to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.  From Victoria Falls, they traveled 230 kilometers (143 miles) to Ziga, located south of Hwange National Park on the western boundary of Zimbabwe, where 150 boys and girls, ages 5-14 will benefit from early reading books full of locally relevant stories, full of pictures and bright colors.

Judith’s Reading Room partnered with the African non-profit organization, Children in the Wilderness, winner of its 2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Board Option Prize.   Thus began our relationship with Children in the Wilderness.  In 2020, Judith’s Reading Room and Children in the Wilderness agreed to dedicate a Judith’s Reading Room library, knowing that it would be the organization’s 100th library in its 22nd country.  Ziga Primary School, described as an outstanding pillar in their community — as its library also doubles as an adult literacy center — was chosen.  The original plan was to dedicate the library in August 2020, but the pandemic got in the way.  Schools in Zimbabwe closed in March 2020; children just returned to school for the first-time in a year.

A donation of US$500 to Children in the Wilderness resulted in the purchase of 113 level-specific books. Due to low literacy levels in southern African schools, books to help students learn to read and gain comprehension skills were of paramount importance.  “The distribution of these books came as such a welcome surprise to the teachers and students at Ziga,” said Sarah Adams, Children in the Wilderness’s Community Sustainability & Evaluation Trainer.  Sue Goatley, the organization’s Program Manager added, “We would like to say a huge thank you to Judith’s Reading Room for this wonderful gift that will continue to inspire children at Ziga for years to come.”

The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with more than 130,000 books donated worth US$1.4 million.

Applications for the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award, the organization’s signature annual event, is posted on its website at www.judithsreadingroom.org. The deadline for applications is fast approaching:  July 1, 2021.  Winners will be announced by the end of July.

 

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Three more Camel Libraries in Pakistan!

Three more camel libraries and more to come… read onward…

Well, Judith’s Reading Room got it right when in voting Basarat as our 1st Freedom Through Literacy Award! She continues to thrill and we hope this message touches your heart as it did ours.  Enjoy the new photos as well!


Dear Cathy,

Greetings!!
Thank you to Judith’s Reading Room for starting something so beautiful for Pakistan’s children.

Roshan, and the 1st camel library in Pakistan has warmed the hearts and imagination of people all over the world and been covered by international media with such interest that there has been an opening of so many doors for children in remote areas of Pakistan.

Three more camel libraries are running in Gwadar, Balochistan and Tharparkar, Sindh. We have funds to set up two more, and will start work on them after the Eid holidays.

Roshan now has three more friends,
Aman ( Peace), Raunaq ( Jovial) Chiragh ( Light); Khushi ( Happiness) and Umeed ( Hope) are on their way.

And all this in a short time period; Roshan was launched in October 2020.

My warmest and very best to all at Judith’s Reading Room.

Basarat


Additional information …..

GRAND PRIZE – 2015 Freedom Through Literacy Award

BOARD OPTION PRIZES – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy


Please submit your application for 2021’s Freedom Through Literacy Award – Deadline July 1st!

Judith’s Reading Room Celebrates National Nutrition Month

Judith’s Reading Room Joins Voices in Celebration of National Nutrition Month
March is National Nutrition Month and Judith’s Reading Room, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit literacy organization will join its voice with others in bringing attention to the topic by gifting over $500 worth of children’s gardening books to Allentown’s Casa Guadalupe’s WIC program that serves families with children under the age of five.

Perennially favorite children’s books like Blueberries for Sal, The Red Lemon, and The Carrot Seed, among dozens of others about fruits, vegetables and gardening will be offered to Casa’s clients that come in during March who have been previously counseled over the phone by its education coordinators and nutritionists, according to Dawn Bush, WIC and Wellness Coordinator.  “Counseling will inform parents about ways to change their grocery store habits and will offer ways to participate in community gardens,” said Bush.

“The importance to Casa Guadalupe having children’s fruit and vegetable books for National Nutrition Month is that families of the WIC program can learn about the importance of nutrition. They also get to spend time reading together,” added Bush.

“These hand-picked children’s books make learning about fruit and vegetables fun,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.  Ms. Leiber, a 16 year Penn State Master Gardener has donated over 1,500 volunteer hours in communities across the region.  Notably, she partnered with other Master Gardeners to create The Garden of New Beginnings at the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown where fresh vegetables were grown.  She saw first-hand how many inner-city residents were surprised to see that tomatoes grow on a vine, in soil, since they had only seen tomatoes come out of a can.

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with 130,446 books donated worth over $1.4 million.  The annual $5,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award, is bestowed on champions of literacy, who have done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  Applications are available at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org.  Deadline for submission is July 1, 2021.

To learn more about how to grow fruits and vegetables, contact your local county extension office.  For residents in Berks County call 610-378-1327; for Lehigh County, call 610-391-9840; for Northampton County, call 610-746-1970.

 

Judith’s Reading Room Joins Voices in Celebration of National Nutrition Month

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Joins Voices in
Celebration of National Nutrition Month

February 22, 2021 – Blandon, Pa –  March is National Nutrition Month and Judith’s Reading Room, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit literacy organization will join its voice with others in bringing attention to the topic by gifting over $500 worth of children’s gardening books to Allentown’s Casa Guadalupe’s WIC program that serves families with children under the age of five.

Perennially favorite children’s books like Blueberries for Sal, The Red Lemon, and The Carrot Seed, among dozens of others about fruits, vegetables and gardening will be offered to Casa’s clients that come in during March who have been previously counseled over the phone by its education coordinators and nutritionists, according to Dawn Bush, WIC and Wellness Coordinator.  “Counseling will inform parents about ways to change their grocery store habits and will offer ways to participate in community gardens,” said Bush.

“The importance to Casa Guadalupe having children’s fruit and vegetable books for National Nutrition Month is that families of the WIC program can learn about the importance of nutrition. They also get to spend time reading together,” added Bush.

“These hand-picked children’s books make learning about fruit and vegetables fun,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.  Ms. Leiber, a 16 year Penn State Master Gardener has donated over 1,500 volunteer hours in communities across the region.  Notably, she partnered with other Master Gardeners to create The Garden of New Beginnings at the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown where fresh vegetables were grown.  She saw first-hand how many inner-city residents were surprised to see that tomatoes grow on a vine, in soil, since they had only seen tomatoes come out of a can.

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with 130,446 books donated worth over $1.4 million.  The annual $5,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award, is bestowed on champions of literacy, who have done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  Applications are available at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org.  Deadline for submission is July 1, 2021.

To learn more about how to grow fruits and vegetables, contact your local county extension office.  For residents in Berks County call 610-378-1327; for Lehigh County, call 610-391-9840; for Northampton County, call 610-746-1970.

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Judith’s Reading Room Seeks Applicants For Its Annual Literacy Award

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Seeks Applicants For Its Annual Literacy Award

January 25, 2021 — Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit literacy organization founded in 2010 announced its signature $5,000 Award that honors domestic and international “champions of literacy.” Apply now for the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org. Deadline for submission is July 1, 202l. Winners will be announced by end-July and will be featured during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

The 7th annual Freedom Through Literacy Award recognizes the achievements of teachers, librarians, authors, booksellers, educators and literacy non-profits. Applicants are judged on five criteria including how their philosophy about literacy guides their work. The 2021 Awards include $2,500 for the Grand Prize winner, $1,500 for the Judith’s Award winner. And, up to four applicants will share a Board Option prize, the total purse of which is $1,000.

The Freedom Through Literacy Award was established in 2015 to pay tribute to those on the front line of literacy. Prior to 2015 the organization focused on shipping books to those around the world without access to books, including active duty troops in Afghanistan. To date, the organization has awarded $38,500 in prize money to 35 winners in the U.S.A., the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with 130,446 books donated worth over $1.4 million.

#Judith’s Freedom Through Literacy Award

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Chinle Planting Hope “READ in Beauty”

Charmaine Tsosie, a 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Board Option Prize winner for her organization, Chinle Planting Hope received fantastic coverage in Navajo Times! The article is fascinating and makes Judith’s Reading Room so proud that Charmaine was selected for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award.

Judith’s Reading is proud to offer new books for their “READ in Beauty ” effort. CPH hopes to raise startup costs of $204,570 through a combination of grants and private donations, according to its proposal. It’s an ambitious project for a small group of volunteers headed by a woman who’s also a mom, a student, and has a full-time job.

According to Arizona State Educational Reports, 67% of Chinle third-graders and 89% of high schoolers lack reading proficiency. The article goes into details how CPH addresses these issues.

Information: To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/chinle-quotread-in-beautyquot-bookmobile

Learn More about Charmaine’s organization …

2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award – Board Option Prize

Chinle Planting Hope Facebook Page

Navajo Times original Article

READ in Beauty Go Bookmobile Fund Me

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging Freedom Through Literacy. To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 99 libraries in 21 countries with 128,000 books donated, valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars. The 100th Judith’s Reading Room library in Zimbabwe, previously scheduled to open in August 2020, has been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Freedom Through Literacy Award was initiated in 2015 as the organization’s signature event. Including the 2020 winners, the organization will have disbursed $38,500 in prize money, honoring 36 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

The 2021 FREEDOM THROUGH LITERACY AWARD APPLICATION WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE IN JANUARY

GRAND PRIZE – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

Grand Prize Award – $2,500

Christopher McGilvery, “Teachers and Student Ambassadors Project”
Canyon, Texas

Supporting one another with the power of literacy. For Chris McGilvery, this is the story he wants to tell in his community. Through his work with The Leaders Readers Network, Chris engages teachers across the United States and Dominica to grow leadership and literacy skills for students. The project partners with teachers to facilitate “buddy” teams in which older students read aloud to younger students while also learning about the
effects of illiteracy.

To date, Chris and his team have trained 205 students, partnered with 215 teachers, and impacted over 55,000 students’ lives.

It is with great enthusiasm that we honor Chris McGilvery as the Grand Prize winner of the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award for his innovative, child-centered approach to foster a love of reading – and leadership! – for children across the United States.

“This award inspires me to continue to build and grow the important work we are doing to support education equity and literacy for all.”
                                                                                                   -Chris McGilvery

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JUDITH’S AWARD – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

Judith’s Award – $1,500

Ty Allan Jackson, “Big Head Books”
Bronx, New York

Too often, children’s books represent non-white protagonists within a narrow range of topics.  Award-winning author Ty Allan Jackson writes highly engaging books that buck this tradition, offering children who don’t always see themselves in the stories they read the opportunity for a  different portrayal of their lives.

His books, including Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire and The Supadupa Kid superhero series, have garnered the attention of several awards and features on local and national news. More importantly, they have reached countless young Black and other minoritzed children with a powerful message:
your story is limitless.

We recognize Ty as winner of the 2020 Judith’s Award for his commitment to expanding narratives with his books.

“As an Indie author winning this award is a surreal experience. Awards usually go to the more established authors. The ones with the big followings and who dominate the bookshelves in bookstores and libraries across the county. Not the authors fighting to be noticed or begging bookstore to carry our works. So this award means that the little guy can make it. Get the accolade and gain the respect of the world of literature. But most importantly receive the love for those we write and draw for…our children. 

Thank you for proving that our work matters!
                                                                                                  -Ty Allan Jackson”

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Slide Show

 

 
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