Light of Literacy Awards

The Light of Literacy Awards recognizes those “Luminaries” whose actions demonstrate a deep understanding of the transformational power of literacy in the lives of those in our community. This awards ceremony brings together leaders from around the area to recognize those who are luminaries in our community, lighting the way for lighting the way for others by their example.

2017 Light of Literacy Recap

Please join us in applauding the work of the following individuals who received awards at the 2017 Friends of Wicomico Public Libraries' Light of Literacy Awards breakfast, held April 20th, 2017 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, MD. These 7 award recipients are shining examples of the best and brightest of our community. Their work to promote the power of literacy to improve and transform lives should not only be recognized, but imitated.

Business Luminary – Vantage Point Solutions Group - This company has VPSG has partnered with United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore (UWLES) in providing consultation to United Way agencies and programs in the following three areas: Cybersecurity Training, TechAssurance for Non-Profits, and Tech for Teens

Youth Luminary – Dariana Ortiz - Dariana is a first generation immigrant who uses her strong academics and desire for social justice to tutor her peers, volunteer to translate with her church, work with UNICEF, SGA, and work to write her own children's book which focused on bullying prevention and self-love. Dariana is a lover of reading and writing and uses her skills whenever possible to help others.

Non-Profit Organization Luminary – Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore - Junior Achievement provides K-12 grade students with education on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness taught through hands-on interactive, age-appropriate lessons, conducted in the classroom, by volunteer community leaders.

Educator Luminary – Wanda Dawson - This school year marks Wanda’s 50th year of teaching as a Librarian in the Fruitland and Westside Primary Schools. She always has the best looking library in the county. Teachers can confidently call on her for anything and she would accommodate them to the best of her ability. When asked about Mrs. Dawson, students of hers responded with smiling faces, excitement in their voices and a love they had for not just the librarian but the fun environment she provided for them. She has dedicated most of her life to inspiring children to read great literature.

Adult Luminary – Pat Layton - A retired staff member, Ms. Pat Layton continues to serve as a volunteer at the library, offering her expertise to select books for the Friends Bookstore – the BookShelf. She promotes literacy to her neighbors through the Little Library in her front yard, which includes college and elementary school students. For the past 5 years, Pat has volunteered at Camp Agape, a camp for children of incarcerated parents, collecting and distributing books throughout the year.

Adult Luminary – Linda Prochaska - Linda works on behalf of Agape Ministries, distributing books to various partners on the Lower Shore who put books directly in the hands of children who might not otherwise have access to books. Each year, they acquire around 7,000 books, 10% of those go directly to children of Agape Ministries - who are children who have an incarcerated parent. The rest are distributed to after-school programs, Family Centers, Judy Centers, WIC offices, Departments of Social Services, Title One Schools and Little Free Libraries. Linda also supplies books for the Little Free Library at the Camden Community Garden. She provided 100 books for the Santa at the Garden event.

Higher Education Luminary – Katie Kirby - Katie, a junior at Salisbury University, has made great strides in promoting the power of literacy in our community since her freshman year. She has done this through various outlets including the Salisbury Urban Ministries Kid's Cafe, one-to-one mentoring via her very own non-profit called "Together We Own It" and the Salisbury University Student United Way Club.

Wicomico Public Libraries joins Ms. Audrey Orr, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, Dr. H. Scott Duncan, Ms. Emily Lampa, Mr. Daniel Johnson and the Friends of the Libraries and members of the local community in celebrating the positive impact made by all nominees for these awards.