Commissioner Sharon Ann McCollum is joined by students and Dr. Sonia Taylor-Griffith of Children's Dental Care, Inc., for the launch of Books in Barbershops PLUS, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 on St. Thomas.
The Virgin Islands Department of Education has launched its Books in Barbershops PLUS literacy initiative at more than 60 barbershops, beauty salons, doctors’ and dental offices across the territory. The initiative’s objectives are to bring books into places where children go to receive services and give them the opportunity to read while they wait, as well as to encourage parents to read to their children in these settings.
“This is another part of the Department of Education’s push to promote literacy to our children as well as to promote literacy throughout the territory,” said Education Commissioner Sharon Ann McCollum, Ph.D., at the February 24 St. Thomas launch event held at Children’s Dental Care, Inc., in the Havensight Shopping Center.
Baskets of books were delivered to participating businesses on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John the week of February 12-18, 2017. The books were supplied through a shipment of 36 pallets of gently used books from Indiana-based non-profit, Better World Books in the spring of 2016. This is the second shipment of books the Department of Education has received from Better World Books; the first was received in 2015.
Books in Barbershops PLUS was officially launched on February 21 in St. Croix at Royalty Cuts barbershop in the La Reine Shopping Center. Assistant Commissioner Charmaine Hobson praised the effort, stating, “It is awesome that as children are cutting their hair or waiting for the doctor, they have the ability to read something for enjoyment. This has been Commissioner McCollum’s dream and vision, and now the Department of Education’s vision. We want everyone in the community to embrace reading.”
St. Croix Insular Superintendent Colleen Mae Williams echoed Hobson’s sentiments. “We have baskets filled with a whole host of books and a variety of reading levels. So, when students come to the barbershop or go to the doctor's office, just for relaxation purposes, they have a whole host of books to choose from."
Royalty Cuts owner, Joey Swanson, who promotes his business as family friendly, said, “We are happy to participate in Books in Barbershops PLUS. Royalty Cuts is a family friendly place, and we support the Department of Education and reading.”
Dr. Sonia Taylor-Griffith, owner of Children’s Dental Care, Inc., also offered her support of the initiative. “Literacy is something I promote in my practice and have always provided books for my patients to read while they wait,” she said. “We are happy to receive these books and I can assure you they will be put to good use.”
Commissioner McCollum encourages children to take books home with them when they visit the participating businesses, as books will be replenished regularly.
Businesses or organizations interested in participating in Books in Barbershops PLUS may contact the Department of Education on St. Thomas at (340) 774-0100 x7096 and on St. Croix at (340) 773-1095 x7091.
Photos Below: Assistant Commissioner Chermaine Hobson and St. Croix Superintendent Colleen Mae Williams visit Royalty Cuts in La Reine Shopping Center for launch of Books in Barbershops PLUS, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 on St. Croix.
Books in Barbershops PLUS – St. Croix District
Sunny Isles Barbershop
Salvador Barber Shop
Bklyn V. I.
V.I. Super Cuts
Frederiksted Health Care
Dr. Rafael Garcia
Clinical Laboratories, Inc.
James Dental Center
VI Dental Center
Pediatrics Care Center
Department of Human Services
Department of Health
V.I. Partners for Healthy Communities
Photos Below: St. Thomas Books in Barbershops PLUS launch at Children's Dental Care, Inc. with Commissioner McCollum and Dr. Sonia Taylor-Griffith, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.
Books in Barbershops PLUS – St. Thomas/St. John District
Love City Barbershop
Shani’s Beauty Salon
Smit T’s Barbershop
Tanya’s Touch Hair Salon
Priscilla’s Unisex Beauty Salon
Fantastic Beauty Center & Spa
Family Dental Services – Commandant Gade –Dr. Gigi Caines
Children’s Dental Care, Inc. –Dr. Sonia Griffith
Prestige Orthodontics – Kistama Naidu, DMD, MS
STT Ambulatory Care Clinic – Dr. Elizabeth Flower
VI Oral Surgery, Inc., - Dr. Horace Griffith
CARI Care – Dr. Reva Richardson
Comprehensive Primary Care Specialists, LLC - Dr. Luis Amaro
STT Red Hook Family Practice
Partner 4 Kids - Dr. Cecilia Penn
Yacht Haven Family Practice
STT Dept. of Health Family Planning
Schneider Regional Medical Center / Pediatric dept.
Graham Urology – Dr. Emmanuel Graham
Dr. Anthony Francis – Pediatrics
Integrative Family Medicine – Hillary Woodson, MD
V.I. Partners for Healthy Communities