Library gets Snowshoe Foundation grant

In collaboration with the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA, 12 day-camp children in fourth through sixth grades are experiencing five quality Wednesday morning reading, research and art sessions hosted by the library.

ELKINS – The Elkins- Randolph County Library was the recipient of a Snowshoe Foundation grant obtained by Elkins Bookhounds, Friends of the Elkins Randolph County Library, to provide books and art materials for a children’s summer program, “Read Create through the Decades.”

In collaboration with the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA, 12 day-camp children in fourth through sixth grades are experiencing five quality Wednesday morning reading, research and art sessions hosted by the library.

Students are learning and discovering culture, events, people and inventions of three decades in American history through computer use, books, music and art. Children will be issued their own library cards, so they can continue to benefit from library materials.

Members of Elkins Bookhounds, The Friends of the Elkins-Randolph County Library and Woman’s Club of Elkins applied for the grant.

Dr. Cynthia Kolsun, president of Elkins Woman’s Club, led the grant writing team. Heidi Jeffries and Beverly Armentrout are administering the program. All three are members of both organizations and are dedicated to connecting children with the library. Children’s books and art supplies were purchased with Snowshoe’s donation.

Jeffries, president of Elkins Bookhounds, said “Children are a priority for The Snowshoe Foundation. We were excited to receive the funds. It was fabulous to choose so many beautiful books to add to the library’s children’s collection.”

Elkins Bookhounds are covering the costs of instruction and the future purchase of children’s technology.

Volunteers from the Woman’s Club of Elkins are reading, aloud, teaching a lesson on research and providing snacks that originate with the focus decade.

After reading “The Gardener,” by Sarah Stewart, Dr. Mary Boyd commented on her experience.

“It’s been enjoyable to participate and see the kids getting involved with relating to the 1930s,” Boyd said. “They seem to really be learning as they connect with the story.”

The Bookhounds have contracted with Diana Vera, who received a bachelor of arts in expressive arts therapy from Davis & Elkins College, to teach the art segment of the program. She is an expressive arts instructor for after-school and summer camp programs at The Arts Center in Elkins and designs project-based curriculum of mixed media; movement and storytelling; history and science; and arts and culture. Vera has inspired generations of students through these programs at the Randolph County YMCA and at the Elkins City Park; integrating multicultural perspectives through art projects, song and dance — while employing kinesthetic, auditory and visual instructional strategies to reach a variety of learners.

Vera said, “Literacy and art go hand-in-hand. Children can create a visual concept that reflects an understanding of a given story or theme. This particular program, Read Create through the Decades, teaches students about social and historical events in a fun and engaging environment. I incorporate various techniques and art mediums that challenge a student to interpret and illustrate the essence/ ideas of the ‘featured book of the week.'”

Vera added, “I thoroughly enjoy guiding kids and celebrating their final product by exhibiting their work. A child’s self-empowerment is encouraged through the development of literacy skills, in conjunction with art.”

“We are so excited to see interactive programming instilled in our library,” said Stephanie Murphy, interim director of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library. “The Bookhounds have been very successful in seeking funding and creative projects for our patrons, which helps make us a more well-rounded provider of community services to all ages. We are grateful for the opportunity!”

Murphy encourages the public to check out the children’s artwork that will be displayed throughout the weeks. Plans are in motion for a culminating art show. For more information about involvement with the Friends of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library, visit the website, http://elkins.lib.wv.us/bookhounds or pick up a brochure at the library.

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