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, for lighting the way for others by their example.


2019 Light of Literacy Recap

Please join us in applauding the work of the following individuals who received awards at the 2019 Friends of Wicomico Public Libraries' Light of Literacy Awards breakfast, held April 19th, 2019 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 – We are pleased announce that this year we have a tie and we are awarding two Organization Luminary Awards.

University of Maryland Extension - Although it is generally known for the services and information it provides to the agricultural community, the Extension Service also offers a variety of programs that are beneficial to the greater community. These programs include 4-H Youth Development, which offers area young people hands-on learning experience in STEM activities such as robotics, aerospace, marine biology, geology, and climate science. Participants are also introduced to nutritional literacy essential to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Another important part of the Extension Service is Family and Consumer Sciences, offering stress management for those recovering from opioid addiction, and financial literacy classes for those entering or reentering the work force.

MAC, Inc. – MAC (Maintaining Active Citizens) provides programs for active citizens 55+, designed to enable the preservation of personal dignity and the maintenance of health and independence. The MAC program provides a wide variety of services, including trained counselors who can provide clear and reliable information on Medicare, Medicaid, prescription plans, and long term care insurance. Legal assistance is also available to assist in interpreting billing and claims issues, Senior rights, government benefits and consumer protection. Other benefits include computer literacy classes and mini-training sessions on practical concerns related to independent living.

HIGHER EDUCATION LUMINARY – We are pleased to award this year’s Higher Education Luminary Award to Salisbury University’s Dr. Anjali Pandy.

Dr. Anjali Pandey - Dr. Pandey is the project director and developer of the TARGET Program at Salisbury University. She founded and continues to direct the program, which is funded by a national grant enabling teachers to attend free of charge. The mission of the TARGET program is to train and retrain teachers to work with students for whom English is a foreign language, and to enhance the reading, writing, speaking and cultural recognition skills of those students.

STUDENT LUMINARY – We are pleased to award this year’s Student Luminary Award to Eleanor Brown.

Eleanor Brown - Eleanor Brown effectively balances her passion for learning with service for others. The best way to describe her is simply to list some of her many activities and accomplishments: Recipient of the Gold Award, the Girl Scouts highest honor; Girl Scout Congressional Aide on Capitol Hill; book discussion leader at ECI; advocate for incarceration reform; integral part of the Salisbury University Student United Way, serving as club president for the 2017-2018; Habitat for Humanity volunteer; volunteer with Children’s programs in South Africa, India, and Thailand. She is the recipient of multiple certificates recognizing her service from the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism.

ADULT LUMINARY – We are pleased to award this year’s ADULT LUMINARY AWARD to SUSAN CANFORA.

Susan Canfora - Susan Canfora’s work is well known to the lower shore community. She has written for the Salisbury Daily Times and is currently a staff writer for the Salisbury Independent. She teaches non-credit courses at Wor-Wic Community College and public speaking at Salisbury University. Her chosen role as a tireless advocate for the highest qualities of the English language informs her work as a journalist of high integrity who performs a great service to the Salisbury community.

EDUCATOR LUMINARY – We are pleased to award this year’s Educator Luminary Award to AMBER & KELLY DORMAN.
Amber & Kelly Dorman - The Dorman sisters are language arts teachers at Mardela Middle School who conduct a weekly after school book club. Their guiding belief is that through literature for young adults, students realize they are not alone in experiencing the struggles, frustrations and joys common to adolescence. The book club provides a safe space for students to discuss how the content of a given book may relate to the questions and issues that inform and affect their lives. To fund book purchases, Amber & Kelly have conducted community fundraisers to supplement an initial start up grant from Barnes & Noble. In making their selections, The Dormans consult book reviews and carefully read each book before it is presented to the book club.

STEM LUMINARY – We are pleased to award this year’s STEM Literacy Award to M4 REACTOR.

M4 Reactor - M4 Reactor was created in 2016 to provide a “makerspace” for creative ideas that utilize skill sets such as robotics, 3D printing, laser cutting and coding, Members are offered training in the use of specialized components, as well as basic metal and woodshop tools. Over the past 3 years, approximately 200 students, including at risk youth, have participated in the program. M4 Reactor encourages the pursuit of knowledge in STEM/STEAM topics necessary to a well prepared 21st century work force. Under the direction of Kevin Justice, the driving force behind this highly innovative undertaking, summer camp offerings have expanded and funding has been secured to create a mobile STEM lab that will travel to area schools and playgrounds.

LIZ BELLAVANCE LEGACY AWARD – It is our pleasure to present this year’s Liz Bellavance Legacy Award to Mrs. Mary Gladys Jones.

Liz Bellavance was an educator, social activist, and patron of the arts; she embodied the belief that all lives are valued. Liz's defining quality was her unique ability to connect meaningfully with those she met, whether they were college students, migrant workers or senior citizens. She was a founding member of radio station WSCL, served several terms on the Board of Wicomico Public Libraries, spearheaded outreach work with the Hispanic community and was a leader in many different arts and education organizations. Her life was a testimony to the power of passion in action.

Mrs. Mary Gladys Jones - The Board of Wicomico Public Libraries values these qualities and seeks to honor the dedication to service that exemplified Liz Bellavance’s life. We are pleased to present The Liz Bellavance Legacy Award to a recipient that embodies Mrs. Bellavance's compassion and work ethic. The individual we honor with this year’s award has dedicated her adult life to the education and well-being of children. Following her graduation from Bowie State University, she taught for 42 years in Worcester and Wicomico counties. When she retired, she turned her formidable energy to the transition of the former Morris Street Colored Elementary School (where she once taught) into the Fruitland Community Center. She has volunteered thousands of hours, working diligently to expand and develop its tutorial program. Although she professes, in her own words, to being “two generations behind” in the technology students use today, she is far from out of touch regarding their current needs. Recently, her associate at the center, Ms. Alexis Deshield has implemented a STEM program to encourage students to develop skills in science, technology, engineering and math skills. At age 99, she remains firmly committed to her work at the Center. She is guided by her conviction that young people should aspire to the highest level of success and be encouraged to reach goals they might otherwise have considered unattainable. For her service, her recognition has included the Community Foundation’s 2011 Volunteer of the Year, the Fruitland Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, the Maryland Jaycees Outstanding Senior Citizen, the 4-Way Test Award from the Rotary Club of Salisbury, and the prestigious 2018 Salisbury Award. It is our pleasure to present this year’s Liz Bellavance Legacy Award to Mrs. Mary Gladys Jones.

Executive Director Ms. Ashley Teagle and Wicomico Public Libraries joins Ms. Audrey Orr, Ms. Susan Bounds, Dr. H. Scott Duncan, Ms. Erica Murphy, the Friends of the Wicomico Public Libraries, all our sponsors and members of the local community in celebrating the positive impact made by all nominees for these awards.