Falkville media specialist among top RIF volunteers
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Gail Ayres' desire to make reading a fun part of children's lives has earned her a national award.
Ayres, Falkville Elementary School library media specialist, has worked with the Volunteer Center of Morgan County RIF program as the RIF coordinator for five years.
By implementing fun reading activities and getting the community involved, Ayres has shown the school's 465 students that reading isn't hard or boring.
"We wanted kids to have fun," Ayres said.
Ayres was recently named the 2005 Anne Richardson RIF Region IV Volunteer of the Year for doing just that. She hosts reading events, complete with refreshments and guest readers, where each student receives a free book from RIF. Students have fashioned and wore storybook character costumes and enjoyed prizes during the events as well.
"We try to make it fun, and we do have a theme for each distribution day," Ayres explained. "Many of them have never owned a book before. RIF gets books not just into the hands of the kids, but in the homes."
Ayres has hosted community leaders, parents, grandparents, local industry employees, high school football players and cheerleaders, to name a few, as guest readers for the kids.
"Part of it is showing kids that reading is important no matter what you do in life," Ayres said. "I try to get volunteers to emphasize that."
Ayres has also rallied the school and community together for two consecutive years to win the Alabama RIF Community Reading Challenge to reinforce the importance of reading.
"When they come back to the library to get a book, that inspires me," Ayres explained.
Ayres was nominated for the RIF award by Jeremy Jones, former Danville-Neel Elementary School instructional leader and RIF Volunteer of the Year winner, because of her enthusiasm.
"Her passion, her commitment, and her desire to improve the lives of her students and community is simply empowering," Jones said. "She will stop at nothing to improve the future of her children at Falkville Elementary School."
Jones will accompany Ayres to a special awards reception in Washington, D.C. this May where she will officially be presented with her award.