YWCA Tribute to Women Award: Neighborhood Dedicated to Public Education | Latest titles
Kay Ward has been a dedicated servant of public education for over four decades.
As Family and Community Engagement Coordinator for Bristol Tennessee City Schools, Ward’s duties are broad but rewarding.
“Fundamentally, my job is to help meet the basic needs of our poor boys and girls, ensuring that they come to our classrooms ready to learn with a focus on learning not needs. fundamentals of life,” Ward said. “Just meeting the basic needs of our children right now is very rewarding for me.”
Meeting these needs means providing students with clothing, school supplies and even food if needed.
“[It’s rewarding] seeing children’s faces light up with a new coat or a new pair of shoes, hearing the relief in parents’ voices that services have been provided by the family resource center and needs have been met,” said said Ward.
For 27 years, Ward — recipient of the 2022 YWCA Tribute to Women Award in the “Nurture” category — has been an employee of the city’s school system, the last 15 of which have been at the Family Resource Center after many years as a teacher. . Before coming to Bristol, Ward taught for 17 years in Wilson County, Tennessee.
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“My real passions are literacy and helping boys and girls escape the cycle of generational poverty,” Ward said. “It all comes down to literacy and ways to support teaching literacy in the classroom at home.”
A program supporting this mission is the Reading Buddy program, which is back after a COVID-19 break. Through Book Buddies and the Book Bus summer program, kids can start building a home library through book giveaways.
“I love promoting literature to children, especially when our children of poverty are involved,” Ward said. “They can travel anywhere. They can have experiences – any experience – through a book.
When asked what led to his educational journey, Ward highlighted his upbringing.
“I come from a very strong family of women, and a good education was an expectation,” Ward said. “I had a very hard working mother and she really inspired me to find something that I really loved and to work very hard to achieve those goals.”
ABOUT THE AWARD: Recipients of the YWCA Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia’s Tribute to Women Award are nominated by area organizations and selected by an independent jury based on their leadership abilities, accomplishments and positive influence. This is the 31st year of the awards.