"Without support and funding from Harvest, we would be unable to develop, promote and sustain initiatives to address health issues and work toward a healthier future for Martinsville and Henry County. "
- Barbara Jackman, Executive Director - MHC Coalition for Health and Wellness
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Storytelling event held at FAHI

March 21, 2011

By ELIZA WINSTON - Bulletin Staff Writer

School was out on Saturday, but that didn’t stop several local students from learning — and enjoying it.

The Fayette Area Historical Initiative (FAHI) has held “Afternoon of Story Telling” events on the third Saturday of each month for about a year, said FAHI Executive Director Gerald Holman. This Saturday, seven children at the event learned about famous African-Americans and the importance of reading.

Children ranging in age from pre-school to seventh grade are invited to attend. Although some children who take part are members of FAHI, anyone can participate, said Holman.

The students were listening to Annie K. Hairston, a retired educator in Henry County Schools who is education chairman of FAHI. Hairston was discussing famous African-Americans with the students and reviewing information many of them learned at school during Black History Month in February.

Hairston asked the students about famous people such as Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr. The students responded with information about each person.

“When I was in college, I met Martin Luther King Jr.,” Hairston told the group.

She said she also met his wife and daughter when they traveled to Martinsville. The children told Hairston that King “had a dream” of equality.

She asked the students what dreams they have.

“I want to be a speech therapist,” said fourth-grader Mina Hart.

Other job aspirations included minister and artist. Other students weren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up.

“Well, sometimes we don’t really know what we want to be at an early age,” said Hairston.

She told them that is fine, adding that some students do not even know what they want to do when they first attend college. But college is a good place to figure out what you want to do, she said.

“As long as you dream, always dream about something you would like to do and do it well,” Hairston advised.

She also encouraged the students to spend time reading at home. Each child was given a book to take home and read and return next month.

Madinah Hart, a third-grader, said she and her sister, Mina, attend the program often. She said she likes doing the activities, especially drawing.

Mina added that she enjoyed learning during the program.

Shamara Mercer, a second-grader, and her sister, Darnesha Mercer, a fourth-grader, also attend the program often. Shamara said it is always fun.

Parents also are encouraged to attend as well, said Holman. On Saturday, parents Ashley Callaway and Michelle Martin Hart both helped with the activities.

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. and lasts about two hours. Holman said there is no cost to participate, but calling beforehand is appreciated so enough materials and snacks can be provided.

The number for FAHI is 732-3496.




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