By Machela Osagboro
Excited primary and kindergarten students who piled into the public library on Friday in anticipation of the “Read with a Fan” event, had all their expectations met and more.
The event, which saw local celebrities Dennis “Menace” Roberts and Team Antigua Island Girls volunteering their services to read to the students kicked off with a bang, and was well received.
“One of the big things we set out to do was to inspire everyone to do something so being here really made it seem more impactful that we did get our goal accomplished,” said Team Antigua Island Girl member, Elvira Bell.
She added that she was pleased to work with the students and was inspired by their interest in learning.
The initiative was part of the Education Month of Activities organised by the Ministry of Education and the “Read with a Fan” is expected to be an annual event going forward.
“Empowering the youth has always been our goal and reading is fundamental. When you have the youth seeing that these ordinary girls took time out to do something extraordinary, then they will be inspired to read,” said Kevinia Francis, another member of Team Antigua Island Girls.
Director of the National Public Library, Ryllis Mannix seemed quite pleased with the turnout and the response of the students to the celebrities.
“We are so happy to have this initiative that was put on by the Ministry of Education and the children are so excited to have Elvira and Kevinia here and share their experience of being out in the ocean,” Mannix said.
She added that the initiative was started because, “we want to share what we know; we want to make our communities healthier by providing services because we are the hub of information”.
The director later revealed that a new Information Communication Technology (ICT) programme will be offered in the evenings to teenagers because, “a lot of them come in to use the computers and they have no idea what they are supposed to do”.
The other local celebrity who read to students of the Golden Grove Primary School, reigning soca artiste “Menace” said that he was very pleased with the initiative and was inspired to give back to the youth in any way because he is a mentor to troubled young people in his community.
“I mentor young adult males who are a little bit more problematic but I have a good scope of them because I was once problematic. So, I just try to fit in where it is necessary,” he said.