Norfolk’s Youngest Voices Soar in a Collection of Writings
For over sixty years, Crenshaw, Ware & Martin has served as general counsel to Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (the “Authority” or “NRHA”). Our work with the Authority supports its commitment to provide quality housing choices to households of all incomes, and to create a healthy physical and social environment for residents of its communities. At a recent meeting, Barbara Hamm Lee, Chair of NRHA, shared with the Authority’s Commissioners an audio of a WHRO radio segment which featured a recently published book entitled Everyone is Welcome: Dreams from Norfolk’s Youngest Voices. Ms. Hamm Lee noted how the voices of these young students tell an important story about life within their community and how the book serves as an inspirational message to each of us of the importance of NRHA’s work and its impact on these young lives.
Tidewater Park elementary students, from grades 3 through 5, participated in a writing club that met weekly in an after-school program. There, they worked closely with the Literacy Fellows, a group of ten students from Norfolk Academy who provided writing classes and workbooks packed with word games and writing challenges to inspire the young writers. The result was a collection of writings by the Tidewater Park Elementary School students of poetry, essays and short reflections on their families, community and aspirations.
The writings by these young Tidewater Park students are probably best summed up by Beth Fraim who wrote the book’s introduction. “In this collection of student writing, one finds the fun and fantasy of childhood dreams as well as the serious and somber hopes for making their city a better place to live, work and play. Most importantly, we find these children dreaming not for themselves, but for the needs and well-being of others and the greater good of their community.”
On Friday, May 20, 2016 at Tidewater Park Elementary School, thirty three delighted young authors attended the official launching of the book and read excerpts of their writings as Mayor Paul Fraim, and his wife Beth, listened along with teachers, family and friends.
The title of the book came from a reflection of one of the young authors, “I would make sure that everyone feels welcome. I would make a sign that says ‘Everyone is Welcome’.”
WHRO, Another View, Everyone is Welcome: Dreams from Norfolk’s Youngest Voices
The books are available for sale at Norfolk Academy bookstore or at Prince Books in downtown Norfolk. All proceeds from the sale of the book support the expansion of the Literacy Fellows Program and the Boys and Girls Club at Tidewater Park Elementary School.