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.

2018 Light of Literacy Recap

Please join us in applauding the work of the following individuals who received awards at the 2018 Friends of Wicomico Public Libraries' Light of Literacy Awards breakfast, held April 19th, 2018 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, MD. These 8 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.

Organization Luminary – Kid’s Café - Salisbury Urban Ministries - For the past 10 years, the Kid’s Café has provided a safe and nurturing place for area elementary students to go after school to get tutoring assistance,
engage with a mentor, receive a nourishing snack and dinner before they go home. Over the summer, children participate in safe, structured activities. Sponsored by Salisbury Urban Ministries and the area Methodist Parish
Council Churches, Kid’s Café staff not only give the children a better sense of self-worth and self-esteem, it also encourages them to do better in school and be more responsible citizens.

Higher Education Luminary - Dr. Patty Dean - Dr. Patty Dean is an associate professor of literacy in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Salisbury University. She teaches classes in emergent literacy, children’s literature and language arts courses for undergraduate and graduate students. Getting teacher candidates to love to read children’s books is high on her priority list. There’s no shortage of materials for the children’s literature course: her office is like a mini children’s library! Through her teaching, Dr. Dean inspires teacher candidates to use literature in creative and engaging ways with their own students. Developing a teacher’s
love of reading ensures they will cultivate this passion in their classrooms.

Student Luminary - Rehman Liaqat - When Rehman Liaqat learned of a group of Pakistani women in his neighborhood who struggled to speak and understand the English language, he took action. He quickly learned that they were in need of assistance with things like applying for employment, earning a driver’s license and reading important letters. Rehman, a Pakistani bilingual student, happily arranged the time to meet with them weekly and worked with them to improve their English comprehension, giving them the tools to function in American society. Currently, Rehman attends James M. Bennett High School, participates in multiple afterschool clubs and continuously goes out of his way to make a difference in our world.

Adult Luminary - Wynnette Curtis - Working for over two decades to help promote literacy in Wicomico County, both in Wicomico County Public Schools as well as her most current role as the Project READ Coordinator at Wicomico Public Libraries, she’s tireless in her efforts to seek volunteer tutors who are able to give three hours a week of their time to help others, or adult learners who are ready to better their futures. Wynnette’s commitment to Project Read is nothing short of inspiring. She personally interviews each candidate for tutoring and provides relevant insight to the tutors. She constantly researches potential learning aids and shares the tools with the tutors. She is readily available to review, discuss and provide suggestions to enhance the tutoring process.

Educator Luminary - Joan Cooper - Each year, Joan works with Salt Water Media to publish a high-quality, student anthology of creative writing and artwork for James M. Bennett High. She does this for no extra pay, but works to secure funds to handle the publication in full. She also writes children’s books with the STEP Up Afterschool Program. The incredible works by her students are a direct result of her commitment to her students. Joan is passionate about making sure the students at Bennett have access to creative writing and poetry opportunities. She goes above and beyond for them and it shows in their work.

Financial Literacy Luminary - Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services - Over the course of the last year and half, SNHS staff has worked diligently to expand Home Buyer Education workshops in the community. Courses have
been moved out of their office and into locations throughout our three target neighborhoods to make them more accessible and to engage as many individuals and families as possible. Courses have been recently held at a local fire station, fostering a relationship with staff, crew and city officials in addition to the local residents. Prior to the fire station, they utilized space at a local affordable housing community, allowing them to encourage homeownership among tenants with the intent of keeping affordable housing opportunities available to the community.

Health Literacy Luminary - The Lower Shore Health Literacy Initiative - The Lower Shore Health Literacy Initiative is a partnership of BEACON at Salisbury University, PRMC, and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore that aims to improve health literacy among the population, especially our unserved and under-served residents. The initiative involves training the trainers in the community (using a curriculum custom designed by BEACON), who then train members of the community. The goal is to improve health outcomes, improve access and affordability by keeping health care costs down, and focusing on long-term wellness rather than expensive acute care.

Liz Bellavance Legacy Award - Brice Stump - The individual we honor with this year’s award has been an institution in our community for over 40 years. Beginning at the age of 15, when he worked as a freelance reporter for the Daily Banner and Dorchester Star. In 1979 he joined the staff of The Daily Times where he wrote news and feature articles, and more importantly, created photo journals that chronicled the history and culture of our area. Winner of multiple awards, it is his work capturing and preserving the essence of our community through stories and photos that has made him an integral part of our history and story. During his induction into the Maryland DDC Hall of fame, he “embodies the era when journalists were truly close to readers.”

Wicomico Public Libraries joins Ms. Audrey Orr, President/CEO of the Peninsula Regional Health System and Peninsula Regional Medical Center Mr. Steven Leonard, Dr. H. Scott Duncan, Ms. Erica Murphy, Mr. Julian Sadur, the Friends of the Libraries and members of the local community in celebrating the positive impact made by all nominees for these awards.