U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant donates $10,000 in Books

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On hand for the official book handover Deputy Assistant Secretary, Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julissa Reynoso; Mrs. Delores Ingraham, President, New Providence Association of Public High Schools; Alexis Thompson, student, Sadie Curtis Primary School; U.S. Ambassador Nicole A. Avant, Reagan Cartwright, student, Sadie Curtis Primary School; LCDR Janice Smith, Chief of the U.S. Office of Defense Coordination and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Elma Garraway. (Photo courtesy: Ikonz Media)

On Tuesday, October 5, United States Ambassador to The Bahamas Nicole A. Avant donated $10,000 in books to the Ministry of Education to support the United States Embassy initiated “Read To Lead” program during an official handover presentation.  Funding for the book donation was provided by the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).

The Read To Lead is a nationwide reading and mentoring program for students in grades 4-6.  This donation compliments the September 9 donation of over $6,000 in school supplies to Woodcock primary school that was also funded by USNORTHCOM. Participants of the official book donation included, Mrs. Delores Ingraham, Wife of the Prime Minister and President of the New Providence Association of Public High Schools.  Ms. Julissa Reynoso, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs; LCDR Janice Smith, Chief of the U.S. Office of Defense Coordination and Mrs. Elma Garraway, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education.

The Read to Lead program began in Woodcock Primary School in 2005 as an informal reading with U.S. Embassy Nassau volunteers.  In 2008, the Ministry of Education used the Woodcock program as a model for a nation-wide reading and mentoring initiative that has now been established in public primary schools in New Providence and many schools in the Family Islands.  In her remarks, Ambassador Avant thanked USNORTHCOM for its generous support, recognized Ministry of Education officials for their leadership, and applauded all Read to Lead volunteers for inspiring the children of The Bahamas to dream more, learn more and become more.

“I am extremely pleased that the U.S. Embassy is expanding our support to the Ministry of Education’s Read to Lead Program with today’s donation of $10,000 worth of books.  These reading materials will be used in 4th, 5th and 6th grade classrooms in public primary schools across The Bahamas to help develop a love for reading and the drive to succeed,” said Ambassador Nicole Avant.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Julissa Reynoso added that she was pleased to have the opportunity to take part in the book donation in support of the nationwide reading initiative.  She noted, “This partnership between the U.S. Embassy, USNORTHCOM and the Bahamian government is just one example of the United States’ longstanding commitment to supporting Bahamian driven efforts aimed at strengthening communities.”