United Way of Independence County's Award of Excellence is given to a person who has shown him or herself to be wholly committed to the cause of a member agency and has proven that commitment by outstanding work done at and for the agency. The Ozark Foothills Literacy Project is proud to announce that board president Andrea Hammack has been presented with a 2012 Award of Excellence.
Andrea is a former school teacher, mother of five, and women's ministry leader at the Jubilee Family Church in Batesville, AR. Although Andrea has only lived in Batesville for a few years, she is very engaged in her community -- both as a member of the Junior Auxiliary of Independence County, and as president of the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project board.
In late 2010, Andrea facilitated a partnership between Jr. Auxiliary, the Literacy Project, and Parents as Teachers, which resulted in “Family Reading Nights.” Thanks to Andrea's efforts to develop this program, hundreds of Independence County children and parents have participated since January 2011.
class="imgp_img" />Each month, a Family Reading Night is held at the Batesville preschool for all families with children ages birth to five. Children make themed crafts with help from their parents, then they gather in a circle for storytime. At the end of the night, each child takes home a book courtesy of Jr. Auxiliary. Andrea and a small team put together the themed events, such as “Souper Reading,” “Seuss on the Loose,” and “Christmas around the World.”
Because of Andrea's commitment to literacy, local children are experiencing reading in a fun, exciting way. Parents discover or rediscover the joy of reading with children, and families are given an opportunity to grow their home libraries. Andrea's dedication to Family Reading Nights has impacted dozens of families across Independence County by encouraging reading, family time, and a sense of community. She has reached many people through her ability to develop partnerships and to devise creative, educational programming, as she seeks to help the Literacy Project fulfill its mission of improving communities through literacy.