Joann Barry, is a huge advocate for our students. She serves on IDAC, and is always looking for ways to spread diversity amongst our students (and staff). She loves sharing culture and spearheaded our multicultural fair one year. She’s created displays in our office, made bulletin boards in our cafeteria, and worked with our librarian on a book projects for our Library. At the end of last year, after some research, Ms. Barry and Mrs. Palomares (our Librarian) realized our library was lacking in current multicultural material and stories that would appeal to our student population. Since the budget was spent; she reached out to Donor’s Choose, and created “Diversify Your Mind With A Rainbow of Books”.
Ms. Barry's thought was this project would encourage our students that visit weekly, and they may read more! New books are always popular amongst the students. Her hope was they will utilize these stories not just for entertainment, but for research, group projects, multicultural day projects and foster a better understanding of others in their school community.
Thanks to Social Media it was shared, even a well-known local vlogger caught wind of it and a donation was received from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation! It was fully funded, and these books are now available in our professorial area for teachers to utilize. Over $500.00 worth of books were ordered!
After Weldon received those books, Ms. Barry and Mrs. Palomares realized they wanted to go BIGGER and get even more books. Ms. Barry decided to take that same theme of “Diversify Your Mind With A Rainbow of Books”, and go the next step. They discovered they had only scratched the surface of what’s out there for students. The over $500.00 from Donor’s Choose was just the beginning! The goal was to make sure EVERY race/ethnicity is represented in Weldon’s library. How wonderful for a student to check out books that represent them in some fashion; to see a character they can relate to in a story! Ms. Barry decided to apply for one of the Foundation For Schools Grants. The goal was to have picture books, chapter books, and nonfiction titles available in every culture represented here at Weldon. The grant was for over $3500.00 and Weldon was a lucky recipient!
We cannot wait for our students to check out these titles, hear stories read that they can relate to, and see their faces when they spy a book that reflects them!
We love our Ms. Barry and are so thankful Weldon received this generous gift to our Library and students.