Park Layne Elementary made history recently when it became the first school to ever win grant monies from the 100-year-old community service organization, Altrusa International Inc.

In keeping with its long tradition of promoting literacy among young people and communities, Altrusa International awarded Park Layne Elementary’s library with $130 to put towards the purchase of informative books for K-3 students about hearing impairments. Two Lego starter-kits will also be purchased for the library’s new science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (S.T.E.A.M.) section.

Park Layne library aide, Gaybrielle Ray, is responsible for reaching out and writing the grant that helped the school win the historic financial gift from Altrusa. She explains why the books and Legos are such important purchases for the library.

“We will be using the books to educate our children, staff, and community about hearing impairments (and) how we, as a school community, can be better friends to our hearing challenged schoolmates. The library will be using the LEGOs in conjunction with LEGO City books (purchased) through district funding a few years ago. It was amazing for me to learn just how many students love to build and create with their hands, (but do not) have access to LEGOs in their personal lives.”

Linda Culler, an Altrusa International, Inc. member, was invited to a ceremony held at Park Layne Elementary where she presented the award to the school’s library. Ray reports Culler was, “very impressed at the warm and welcoming feeling (she) felt meeting the students and staff,” and was also, “impressed with the passionate teaching staff.”

Ray comments further on the impact Altrusa has had locally, “...The main goal of Altrusa is literacy. For the past twenty years, Altrusa has organized an annual, and very successful, (local) Literacy Sting. With the hard work of Altrusa members, and commitment from the community, Altrusa continues to provide literacy support for our area in a number of ways. We are thrilled to be the first school to receive a financial gift of support from Altrusa.”

Looking ahead, Ray says she hopes the library’s new Altrusa-funded materials will impact Park Layne students by providing them with an opportunity for “knowledge, passion, and hands-on experiences.” “We are encouraging dreams and opening doors to the future,” explains Ray.