GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A Gulfport school employee has received a big award to help finance a big idea that will take the library out of the building and into the community.
The Voya Unsung Heroes Award is an honor for 28th Street Elementary Library Media Specialist Janice Barnes. But more importantly, it is to help students over the summer to maintain their reading skills as well as their joy for reading.
This is the fourth grant submitted and approved by Janice Barnes since she has been at 28th Street Elementary.
The $2,000 grant from Voya will help supplement a program she started on her own.
“I load the books up in my car, and then when we go to the apartments, they have a space for us,” said Barnes. “But even when I just drive around in my car, I’ll let the kids select the book that they may like for their own keeping.”
The money will let her purchase more books for PreK through fifth-grade students, that will see life beyond the four walls of the library.
“It makes me feel wonderful to be able to provide something that our students don’t have an opportunity to do.” Barnes said.
It’s an accomplishment applauded by principal Angela August, even though the new year-round schedule shortens the long summer break.
“We know that the more they read the better readers they become and we just want to encourage that,” August said. “We want to celebrate Ms. Barnes because with her writing that grant, it gave us the opportunity to provide those things to our community and our students.”