By Charlotte Underwood / Staff writer
In an effort to boost literacy, a tutoring and reading center has opened in Williamsburg. The center is a joint project of the Williamsburg Action Team which owns the Lane Theater and Plenty International. Inc of Tennessee.
Books to Kids Reading and Tutoring Center will be stocked with hundreds of books for children aged birth through 5th grade, according to Williamsburg Action Team representative Marian Colette.
The purpose of the center is to provide free books and tutoring for children and to encourage reading in the home. Part of the inspiration for the center came from a request from the Whitley County Drug Court, according to Colette.
“We were asked to provide reading tutoring for several boys that needed the help and so we want to provide it for any students in Whitley County from elementary through high school,” Colette said.
Jim Selin, a volunteer with Plenty International Inc., acquires children’s books through donations and by purchasing them at thrift stores. He has collected and distributed more than 70,000 books to sites in the gulf affected by Katrina and here in Appalachia, according to Colette.
The books provided at the center are free to children to take for their own personal home library and to encourage reading in homes.
“Some of these kids get to eighth grade without ever reading a word and we hope that by providing books we can change that and encourage reading from a young age,” Colette said.
The center will also offer free Wi-Fi connection.
Colette will staff the center with other local volunteers and offer tutoring to any children needing help from area schools.
“Success in education is such a pre-requisite for being successful in life. If you have some education, you will be able to get a job, to support your family and have a better chance at success in life,” Colette said.
Though the center has been open for about a month, there will be an official grand opening celebration on Friday at noon. The center is located at 510 Main Street in Williamsburg, next to the Lane Theatre.
A mariachi band will kick off the celebration with music. Tacos and chips and salsa will be sold for lunch and to benefit the new center. The entire community is invited, especially children who can get free books.
Donations of working computers for use by students are welcomed, as is volunteers.
For more information call the center at 549-0067 or call Colette directly at 606-524-4658.
By Charlotte Underwood / Staff writer
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