Sparta organizations and bookstore team up to promote literacy

By | October 11, 2018 9:34 am

L-R: Pat Hinton, Sparta Woman’s Club member; Sherry Hickey, Sparta Woman’s Club president; Mary Dingwall, Sparta Woman’s Club treasurer, Matthew Dyer, of The Mad Raven bookstore; Dana Gorter, White County Library children’s services; Mistie Ragland, United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland; and Bula Price, YMCA director

According to the international non-profit Pro-Literacy, as many as 36 million adults cannot read better than the average third grader, and two out of three children living in poverty have no books at home.

Sparta Woman’s Club recognized this problem and saw a need to promote literacy to children who visit the YMCA.

The lavender-colored box was installed by Wendell Rust, with supplies donated from the United Way. His wife, Tanya Rust, then painted and decorated the box with drawings of butterflies. The books inside were donated by a Sparta bookstore, The Mad Raven. After all of this, the Sparta Woman’s Club, an affiliation of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, reached out to Sparta-White County YMCA Director Bula Price to secure plans to have it installed on their property.

“This gift was donated by the United Way [of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland],” said Sparta Woman’s Club President Shirley Hickey. “They saved us $500.”

When asked why the club took an interest in the Little Free Library project, Hickey stated members are always trying to make a difference in the community.

“We all come to the Y and noticed they didn’t have one,” said Hickey, “In the summer time, the kids are here, and we thought it would be a perfect place to put one.”

This most recent free library project is one of the many that are spread throughout the county. All the schools in the county have one, as well as outside the White County Public Library, Pearson Park, and South Carter Street Park, as well as several other locations in town. Price stated the YMCA recently received a gift of plants and a bench from the Sparta Walmart.

“Some employees from Walmart came out and set it up,” said Price. “If I would have known they were going to do it, we would have put the library box over by the bench.”

Hickey stated that Sparta Woman’s Club enjoys doing projects like these, and their mission is not limited to one thing. She went on to say they also help people, such as the veterans and organizations like the pregnancy center.

Hickey said, “If you want to come and make a difference, you can come and join us the first Monday of every month at the First United Methodist   Church, at noon.”

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