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‘Books for Barbers’

WINDSOR – Bertie County Schools Superintendent Dr. Catherine Edmonds continued her Listening Tour here June 7, by revisiting a few of her previous stops: local barber shops and beauty salons in the area.

However, this time Edmonds came bearing gifts: bins of books for children of all ages to read as they await their time in the barber chair or underneath the dryer while getting groomed.

The book giveaways were made possible by The Prodigal Son Foundation, out of Charlotte and Durham, a non-profit with Bertie County connections.

Head librarian Nancy Hughes (left) discusses ‘Books for Barbers’ with Bertie County Schools Superintendent Dr. Catherine Edmonds at the Bertie County Public Library in Windsor.

Prodigal Son Foundation Leader Leroy Wray heard of the Tour and reached out to Scholastic Education, a national textbook publisher, and arranged the first book drop at the Bertie County Schools’ Central Offices on May 30.

Wray’s wife, Trish Hardy Wray, grew up in Bertie County but the couple now lives in Charlotte. Through several prior conversations they decided to reach out to Dr. Edmonds and offer assistance in any way they could for the youth back home.

“After all, the mission of The Prodigal Son Foundation is to empower, educate and engage low-income families,” said Wray.

The Prodigal Son Foundation donated its first gift of books from Scholastic Education at the end of last month and more books are forthcoming.

RaShawyn Morris, one of the Senior Account Executive for Scholastic Education in North Carolina, provided the book bins and on Thursday, June7 they were delivered to their first locations: Elite Performance Barber Shop and Beauty Salon in downtown Windsor, and Speller Enterprises, located on US 13/17 south of Windsor.

Listening Tour Team members also reached out to Gifted Hands Beauty Salon, and to Diamond Cuts and Creations in Windsor, both which have agreed to house book bins in their shops for the youth of Bertie County to read while they await haircuts and hairstyles.

“The Listening Tour Team will track how many books are being read, with the help of the stylists, by using a sign-up sheet that says, I read a book today,” said Dr. Edmonds.

The sign-up sheets will list each child’s name, age and the date of their salon or shop visit.

Other stops on Thursday’s Community Listening Tour included the Bertie Public Memorial Library, Wells Fargo Bank, Southern Bank and Self Help Credit Union.

There were also some special participants joining the Community Listening Tour Team for the first time, two college students who will be serving as interns with Bertie County Schools this summer: Robert Boone, Jr., a rising senior at Elizabeth City State University, and Sandrika Freeman, a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Together they will be learning from leaders at the Central Office and working to implement student government associations in all Bertie County schools for the upcoming school year.

“We continue to learn of ways we can collaborate with community partners to provide services and opportunities to cultivate literacy with each community visit,” added Edmonds. “We will continue to reach out to local businesses in the community and plans are already in the works for additional Tour stops.”

Anyone wishing to invite the Bertie County Schools Superintendent to visit their business or their community should call Kimberly Cooper, Executive Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, at 252-794-6025.