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2021 OELMA Award Spotlight on Chrishawandra Matthews, Literacy Leader Award Recipient

Today, OELMA wants to celebrate one of our 2021 OELMA Award winners by featuring her as part of our Award Winners Spotlight series. This year’s Literacy Leader Award winner is Chrishawandra Matthews, founder of Literacy in the HOOD.
Literacy in the HOOD is a non-profit that pops up with free, donated books in book giveaway displays that attract young people wherever youth gather in and around Cleveland, Ohio.
Check out what this awesome organization is doing by visiting their site at:
Q: How many years have you been involved with Literacy in the HOOD
A: 6 years
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: Principal
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: My son, Derrick continues to inspire me. His passion for reading and community pushes me to go further and create a space were parents, children, and caregivers, can have access to free books!
Q: What book have you read more than once, if any? And why?
A: Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. It helps me with daily issues, feelings, and emotions. It encourages me to put my best foot forward no matter what!
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: Mo Williams - Pig ... These books encouraged a love for reading with my Son at a young age and he continues to love his books.
Q: Do you have a fun fact/unique talent you would like to share with us?
A: My unique talent is the ability to engage both parents & children.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Secretary
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Texas
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: My favorite books were "Babysitter Club." These books reminded me of my little sister & brother that were both younger than me.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: 2/3 CMSD students do not have any Books at all. Literacy in the HOOD gives Children access to Free Books to turn these statistics around.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about receiving the Literacy Leader Award?
A: Winning this award is a humbling accomplishment for our organization. When we started Literacy in the HOOD many people did not believe in the mission. During the pandemic alone we have passed out over 105,000 books. I am honored to receive such an award for the work we have done in the community.

Congrats to Chrishawandra and thank you for sharing your passion for literacy with the young people of Northeast Ohio!