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Boys & Girls Center in Fort Pierce creates library to foster after-school reading, literacy

Room works to encourage love of reading, get books into the hands of every child
Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 06, 2023

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Learning to read doesn't stop when school gets out. It's a full-time job of sorts.

The Westside Boys & Girls Club in Fort Pierce is taking that mission to heart with new programs and new spaces to read, like their "Little Library" that came to fruition a couple of years ago.

The idea behind the room was to encourage of love of reading after school and to get books into the hands of every child who visits the center. It's all about building reading competency and confidence.

"Whatever your struggle is, let us all come together and reach your goal," Rasheedah Ahmad, senior club director of the Westside Boys & Girls Club.

Rasheedah Ahmad explains what spurred them to set aside a library for the children at the center.
Rasheedah Ahmad explains what spurred them to set aside a library for the children at the center.

"In short, to teach kids to read is to empower them," Rene Motto, the senior director of education for the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County.

She said this library is about empowering kids through choices and chapters.

"Once the students leave the school, how can we make sure that they are still surrounded by books?" Motto said. "What's nice in the after-school space is that we are kind of trying to implement some more of those out-of-the-box types of methods."

Ahmad said they worked with the Children's Services Council to develop a post-pandemic space to help catch up with reading literacy.

"We talked about it, how we wanted to make specialized programs for our members, and so this room was birthed," Ahmad said.

Rene Motto discusses how the library offers students to learn and foster a love for reading.
Rene Motto discusses how the library offers students to learn and foster a love for reading.

Members there told WPTV that they enjoy reading together and enjoy the calming feel of the room.

"The more you read, the better you get at it," Ayanna Mathis, a club member, said.

"It's more entertaining when you have all your friends with you," Syloh Minds, another club member, said.

Kiarra Real, a club member, said she liked the quiet in the room "very much."

For Ahmad, it's all about seeing the children foster a love for reading.

"Gratitude, gratification," she described as emotions she felt upon seeing a child learn to read. "Because that's really why I come to work every single day."