USAMRICD's community outreach renovates Edgewood Elementary School reading room
Since its inception, the Community Outreach Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground has embraced Edgewood Elementary School and completed a variety of projects to help its students. The program's latest project, a renovation of the school's Ben Carson Reading Room, was unveiled Dec. 2 with a traditional ribbon cutting and open house.
"The purpose of Ben Carson Reading Rooms is to create literacy-enriched environments so students can develop their reading skills through leisure reading," explains Principal Jennifer Drumgoole. "With our newly renovated Ben Carson Reading Room, the students at Edgewood Elementary School certainly have a fun, inviting, literacy-rich environment in which to enjoy a good book! We are very thankful to our partners at the USAMRICD for working so hard on this project for the students of Edgewood Elementary School."
The USAMRICD Community Outreach Program Committee had a short timeline for completing the renovation and quickly started planning a theme and finding sponsors to help cover renovation costs. Individuals from the USAMRICD, other APG organizations, and the community as well as local businesses and organizations all helped out by donating supplies, equipment and labor. In particular, Perry Point VA Medical Center provided excess furnishings; Edgewood Home Depot provided paint, painting supplies, and even some painters, wood for the benches and hardware to hang shelving. From the APG community, Col. Laura Elliot and her unit, the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, provided the floor tiles. Capt. Itsara Ounnarath and other individuals from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center provided additional support to complete the room.
The result is a charming room with bright, primary colors and a Dr. Seuss theme. Bean bag chairs and cushioned benches fill the room. Even the entrance invites students in with a mural painted by the USAMRICD's Capt. Liana Matson.
The outreach committee also presented school guidance counselor Karen Cunningham with a new Kindle Fire for additional one-on-one reading with the students.
After the official opening ceremony, each first- through third-grade class was welcomed into the new space in 15-minute intervals. USAMRICD's Spec. Elizabeth Babcock and Staff Sgt. Trenice Porch-Sylvester took turns reading each class one of Dr. Seuss's classic stories, and the students met the room's new resident goldfish, named Thing 1 and Thing 2 after the characters in the classic The Cat in the Hat.