Next Leaders Northside recently teamed up with Educating Teens Inc., and Sam’s Club to renovate the library of the Manchester Elementary School. The initiative was spearheaded by Next Leader Kezia Ellison, who is president of Educating Teens Inc. “If a person can’t read, that impacts health literacy,” said Kezia “I come from a place of health so we have to make sure all kids are proficient in reading.”

Educating Teens Inc. is an organization designed to educate pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults about the deadly impact of the HIV virus and other sexually transmitted infections. Recently the organization launched “Manchester Reads,” an initiative focused on having adults from the community read to students in the elementary school, and a marketing campaign where adults will be featured on posters with their favorite book. The final component will be to have Manchester’s middle school students read to the elementary students.

A picture posted online of a nearly empty bookshelf at the original Manchester library inspired the renovation. Coro put Ms. Ellison in touch with Sam’s Club executives, and within three weeks an unusable library was transformed. Representatives from Sam’s Club were responsible for repainting the library as well as installing new acoustic ceiling lighting, carpeting, shelves, furniture, and a circulation desk. “This is something we enjoy doing,” said Tim Martin, a representative from Sam’s Club, who lead the team. “We had an opportunity to talk to the sixth grade student about their goals and their dreams and what they want to do and I thought that was great.” Other contributors included PerLora interior designer Craig McDonald, illustrator Dave Klug who created a mural at the library, and Manchester Craftsman’s Guild photographer Kahmeelah Adams. Hundreds more people contributed by donating thousands of books. For more, see the Pittsburgh Courier,” Manchester Reads Unveils Manchester Library.”