The heavy rain didn’t stop Leadership Tallahassee from celebrating the opening of The Learning Tree Library in South City. A six year old named Auria helped begin the ceremony, and she’s a resident at the Orange Avenue Apartments.
Her mom Audriana Fulton says she’s happy Auria and her three brothers will have a safe place to go outside of the house.
“It’s very exciting because usually we’re in a house," she says. "We don’t have anywhere to go with me having babies and no transportation. This is a couple of feet away and it’s amazing."
Each Leadership Tallahassee class does a legacy project at the end of the year, says Courtney Atkins from the South City Revitalization Council.
She pitched the idea of the library.
“To be able to create this library where children can take these books home and keep them, come in and out, have celebrity readers coming in to mentor and read to these children," Atkins says, "we really are hopeful that this is going to improve their literary skills and give them a place to experience the love of reading.”
She hopes the library will help connect Tallahassee residents from across town to South City.
“We’re hoping that we’ll start having a real blending of our Tallahassee communities," Atkins says. "It feels very segregated here. We want people to feel comfortable coming here and getting to know these wonderful people in South City.”
City Commissioner Curtis Richardson has lived in South City for 25 years, and he says The Learning Tree Library can help serve a community that in the past has been ignored.
“Others throughout the community have made a commitment to investing in the future of these children and families here in the South City area," Richardson says. "For so long this part of our city has been neglected, and there’s no greater investment we can make than in our children.”
He says the library will also promote literacy for young kids, which serves as a catalyst for promising futures.
“It will set the foundation for their success not only in school but in life, through reading," Richardson says. "That’s what we’re hoping to encourage through this Learning Tree project.”
And it looks like Auria is all ready to get started:
“We are reading the books," she says, holding a book called "Free to Be You And Me" in her lap. While she can’t read just yet, she says she’s excited to go at The Learning Tree with her mom.
For more news updates, follow Tori Whitley on Twitter: @victoriahart2.