April 14, 2005 Dominique A. James made history when she decided to apply for this year's State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grant.
The 10th-grade student at the St. Joseph High School on St. Croix was one of 100 applicants to receive an award of $1,000 to implement a service-learning project for National Youth Service Day, which will take place this Saturday. Youth Service Day is a public awareness and education campaign that highlights the contribution that young people make to their communities.
"Dominique James is the first grant recipient and first applicant ever from the Virgin Islands," said Christina Wessell, public relations officer for Youth Service America, a partner with the grant program.
According to a release issued from Youth Service America, James is using the grant award to organize a "Reading Carnival and Book Fair" that will take place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at her school.
The concept of the "Reading Carnival and Book Fair" evolved from the "well-known, fun-filled atmosphere of our traditional Festival Village," James was quoted as saying in the release. The reading carnival will feature reading booths to provide for the mind, instead of the traditional booths offering food for the body, James said. Books will be on sale for children from ages 3-13. Also, several community leaders, including Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards and Sen. Ronald E. Russell will be present to read to the youth.
The fair will also feature entertainment by various school groups and local authors and storytellers.
"I have loved reading all my life," James stated in the release. "I believe that it has helped me excel academically, as well as helped my leadership capabilities. Through this 'Reading Carnival and Book Fair,' I wish to share my love of reading with other young people growing up like me on St. Croix, with the hope that many will see reading as a rewarding, fun, lifetime hobby."
About 650 people across the nation and its territories applied this year for the 100 grants from the State Farm Companies Foundation. The program was developed to encourage young people to design and lead community service programs.
State Farm is one of the largest insurance companies in the nation. Youth Service America is a national organization that partners with companies committed to strengthening the youth service movement, the release stated.
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