Girl Scout Ambassador Victoria in Troop 52 recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement and honor in Girl Scouting. Victoria became aware of the effects of the pandemic on literacy rates in her North Carolina community and took action to make reading more accessible for the students of Shawboro Elementary School in Shawboro, North Carolina.
Victoria said, “In my county 5 of the 6 elementary schools classify as Title I Schools. To be a Title I school, your school must have a poverty rate of 40% or higher. Often, parents cannot buy extras like storybooks. Even though the schools and staff try very hard to make sure students have what they need to reach the next grade level, lots of kids fall behind.”
To begin addressing this issue, she took a look at the bigger picture and determined the major challenges families are facing when trying to access reading materials and came up with a simple yet practical solution.
“I noticed during Covid that kids had no way to get their hands on storybooks. All of our schools were closed and so were the school libraries. Our county libraries were closed, as well. With no way to practice basic reading skills at home, children fell behind and they couldn’t meet the expectations for their grade level. Roughly 35,000 third graders in North Carolina were ultimately ‘retained,’ which means they took another year of third grade or were advanced to fourth grade but put in a transitional class or classified as retained for reading.”
Victoria took action by creating a literacy box outside of Shawboro Elementary School, which is accessible by students and the community, at any time. The literacy box is an outdoor structure that encourages visitors to give and take books. The box is stocked with books for school-aged children and contains over 100 titles at any given time. Book donations came in from the community, along with Victoria’s friends and family, and will continue to be fulfilled by future book drives at the school. Along with book donations, this project was supported by proceeds Victoria earned from participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, a monetary donation from the Moyock Women’s Club, as well as a donation of all materials needed to build the structure by Advanced Waterproofing & Restoration of Virginia Beach.
Victoria was also featured in an article at thecoastlandtimes.com for her work helping the community of Moyock.
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