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2021 Literacy Grant Recipients

Phi Kappa Phi is proud to present the 2021 Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant recipients. Grants of up to $2,500 are available to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and individual members to fund ongoing literacy projects or to create new initiatives.

Terry S. Atkinson

Community Literacy Engagement: Imagination Library in a High Poverty North Carolina County

Pitt County has the highest poverty levels in the state of North Carolina. The county introduced Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in 2016 in support of early literacy. DPIL is a book distribution program that mails one free, age appropriate book per month to children from birth to 5 years old, bolstering literacy and language opportunities through at-home shared reading. The funds from this grant will support 104 of the original DPIL participants who will graduate this year.

Sandra Campbell

Middle Tennessee State University Little Free Libraries

The MTSU Little Free Library Project is a literacy initiative that will foster a love of learning for children under the age of 5 who come from a variety of backgrounds and economic strata. With three sites across campus, this will be an ongoing service project promoting the “Love of Learning” and “Leaders are Readers” for children, parents, and community members who use the program sites or live in the adjoining neighborhoods.

Dave Frantzreb

The Love of Reading

To encourage a passion for literacy the University of North Carolina at Charlote chapter of Phi Kappa Phi will continue a partnership with the Kappa Delta Pi, Omicron Pi chapter to host virtual and in-school reading events at Niner University Elementary in Charlotte, North Carolina. NUE is part of the UNC System Lab School program that established nine public school options to help “improve student performance in local school administrative units with low-performing schools.” NUE currently serves students in kindergarten through second grade. The current plan, pending the COVID-19 pandemic, is to record more readings for the virtual bookshelf for NUE students and teachers.

Shelby L. Garner

Innovation in Digital Learning through an E-Café to Improve Health Literacy among Nursing Students in India

The purpose of this project is to build an e-café center for female nursing students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds in India. The goal of the e-café is to engage students in an inclusive environment where innovative technologies will provide valuable digital resources to improve health literacy. The e-café will be located in a living and learning center at Bangalore Baptist Hospital in Bengaluru, India. BBH recruits qualified young women from rural villages who have little opportunities for higher education and provides scholarships for them to attend the nursing institute.

Mollie Hartup

Honors Helping Future Scholars

CDC research published March 2021 suggests children who have experienced virtual learning might need additional support to mitigate pandemic impacts. The Youngstown State University Honors College is already working with schools in the local community in an effort to close the learning gap through the Honors Helping Future Scholars program. Eleven honors students have volunteered nearly 50 hours tutoring students from area middle and high schools this year. Virtual tutoring sessions have been conducted in a variety of areas, including English, social studies and math. The HHFS program will expand this fall by providing trained student volunteers who will serve in a paraprofessional role in area schools. The grant will help fund background checks that YSU students will need in order to volunteer in the classroom.

Kelli Hunsucker

Promoting Literacy in Kindergarten Children through Ocean Themed Books and Virtual Story Times

The Florida Institute of Technology with their project “Promoting Literacy in Kindergarten Children through Ocean Themed Books and Virtual Story Times” will write and illustrate a series of books, each focused on a different aspect of the ocean environment, from microscopic organisms to large pelagic fish to climate change. The stories will describe the impact humans have on ocean ecosystems and emphasize how children can help make a difference. Each book will include a viritual "Story Time" for readers and include age appropriate discussions. The books will be distributed to local elementary schools for inclusion in the classroom and at home.

Dilpreet Kaeley

Rx for Inclusive and Early Literacy

The Rx for Inclusive and Early Literacy Project is a literacy initiative that promotes school readiness, family relational health and books that will expose families to diverse populations and culture at urban Toledo clinics to improve local kindergarten readiness scores. Partnering with Reach Out and Read and the University of Toledo Department of Pediatrics, the goal is to educate parents to increase the home literacy environment and assess literacy developmental milestones at each visit. By using trusted medical providers as messengers, parents will recieve guidance and new, age-appropriate books at each visit for children ages 6 months to 5 years. This Mirrors and Windows initiative is a wonderful way to allow children learn about themselves and others.

Will Porter

Music Workshops in Juvenile Detention Centers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Ethiopia

The Music Workshops in Juvenile Detention Centers contribute to social justice through music literacy. These workshops engage court-involved youth in detention centers and youth shelters in an introductory course on the history of brass instruments around the world, followed by a hands-on lesson learning to play trumpets and trombones. Participants create an ensemble and learn to improvise simple jazz melodies together, encouraging creative thinking and relationship-building. Initially started in Madison, Wisconsin, this project has now expanded to include projects in Champaign, Illinois, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As the project has expanded, so has the scope of subjects taught, including collaborations with artists and health professionals, both domestic and international, creating opportunities to weave more diverse learning experiences into the music workshops.

Aaron Ragsdale

Rabbit Readers

The Rabbit Readers project is a partnership between the South Dakota State University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the Brookings Arts Council, and the Brookings Public Library to help foster a love of learning and love of reading in elementary-aged students in the Brookings community. The program seeks to create enthusiasm by initiating an annual communitywide common read for students in grades K-3, providing books to each student, and augmenting the libraries in the three public school buildings that serve this age group as well as the Brookings Public Library. Currently, the Brookings School District utilizes the digital platform “Storyline Online” to bring pre-recorded celebrity readings into the classroom. The Rabbit Readers program would augment this program by bringing local celebrities to connect with younger readers in our community in person in order to provide a meaningful personal interaction to the students in the district and to model excitement about literacy, learning, and the rewards of reading to oneself.

Muthukrishnan Sathyamoorthy

Born-to-Read Project for East Texas

Two previous Literacy Grants from Phi Kappa Phi in 2017 and 2019 were used to design, implement and evaluate a pilot project Born-to-Read to benefit 21 families with 27 children. The success of the project generated a great deal of interest and support from Tyler Sunrise Rotary Club and the University of Texas at Tyler K-16 Literacy Center. This grant will be used to further expand and study the impact of the project in the larger East Texas community aimed at building additional parent capacity to support the development of early language and literacy skills of children ranging from newborn to 3 years of age. A broader community-based effort involving Healthy Start, Homewood Suites, Tyler Family Circle of Care, and other local sponsors will address Literacy Intervention.

Judy Stiles

Joplin Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action Read Student Success Program

Joplin NALA Read, a nonprofit literacy organization established in 1981, provides lifelong educational opportunities to adult learners, addressing the unique needs of individuals and the Joplin community by providing adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate effectively as citizens, workers, family members, and consumers. The mission is to provide tuition-free literacy programs to improve the self-sufficiency of families. The skills that adult learners can access through Joplin NALA Read give them access to a better life and make a positive impact in their community.

Melissa Williams

The Art of Empowerment: Building Social-Emotional Learning Through Art

This project aims to improve art and social-emotional literacy for students enrolled at the Peoria Regional Learning Center, an alternative school serving Peoria County, Illinois. To achieve this, the Methodist College chapter of Phi Kappa Phi will purchase art supplies of differing mediums and partner with PRLC faculty to integrate art-based activities into their existing social-emotional curriculum. This initiative serves students who have a history of giving up on going to school for reasons spanning across academic, emotional, and social spectrums. The AOE project allows students to draw, create and paint their way towards emotional self-regulation, improved well-being and confidence in self-expression that will last into adulthood.