Allison Maynard - Sparking Young Imaginations
A great story can lift your spirits and take you anywhere in the world that you want to go.
Igniting the passion for reading often includes a special group of dedicated educators - librarians.
In this week's 'Pay it Forward' we meet a woman who has started a whole new chapter in her life and the lives of some local students.
Our story begins at Hamilton County's Dawn School. The campus provides special services for students with emotional challenges and other needs.
At the helm is Lisa Guffey, the school's coordinator
Lisa knows her school's new library wouldn't exist without the help of retired Hamilton County librarian, Allison Maynard.
Lisa says, "She (Allison) kind of took ownership and she kind of worked in the background for like a year-and-a-half where she told us she was asking librarians around the county to donate books that they were getting rid of...
Once we began to have the library available for the kids we didn't have a librarian and we didn't have someone to introduce them to the library. So, she trained my staff on checking books in and out and she came to train the children on how to check books in and out and then she kept coming back on Tuesdays to be our librarian."
Lisa beams with pride as she describes her colleague's good deeds.
"All of this that she's doing for us is volunteer. She doesn't have a child here. She doesn't have a connection other than that she's fallen in love with our children and she sees the need."
We decide that it's time to surprise Allison who's just up the hall.
We count out our cash and make our way to the school's new library.
Lisa asks Allison to step into the hallway and tells her, "On behalf of the McMahan Law Firm and NewsChannel 9 I'd like to 'Pay it Forward' for all you do for us in the library."
She counts out five $100 bills and tells Allison what a great addition she is to their team and how proud she is to have her at Dawn School.
A very grateful Allison shares why she is so passionate about learning.
"I'm an educator. I have been teaching for 34 years, just retired from Hamilton County as one of the librarians. And, in the library you get to help everybody."
Allison can't help but smile, "I mean, to see that light bulb come on, to see the excitement of these kids, to see their engagement, and to remember from one week to the next. Just getting them excited about reading - that's what it's all about!"
Each Tuesday Allison knows the books she brings to the library that she helped create will inspire imaginations and transform young lives for years to come.
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