Collaborative Connections, Inc, was recently awarded a 2021 State Literacy Award from the Library of Congress for their Everyone Has a Story Project. The program enables inmates at Wyoming correctional facilities to select books for their children and to record themselves reading the books, building family connections through the power of stories. The Everyone Has a Story Project was nominated for the award by the Wyoming State Library through its Wyoming Center for the Book program.
The Library of Congress State Literacy Awards Program, made possible through the generous support of David M. Rubenstein, recognizes organizations or programs that have made outstanding contributions to promoting literacy and/or reading in a state or local community. Collaborative Connections was one of only seven organizations selected nationally.
“I’m so pleased that this project was nominated and selected for the award,” said Mary Kay Huck, founder of the Everyone Has a Story Project. “The incarcerated, and especially their children left without a parent at home, are often neglected by those of us on the ‘outside.’ It’s our hope that the award will shed light on these families.”
Collaborative Connections will receive an award of $2,225, which they will use to purchase more books for the children of Wyoming Women’s Center and Wyoming State Penitentiary inmates. “We listen to the inmates’ requests for books and try to make those requests happen,” said Huck. “It shows that we value their opinion for their children’s reading experience. We believe in treating everyone with dignity.”
In upcoming months, Huck said they hope to increase the number of women participating at the Wyoming Women’s Center and to record inmates at the Wyoming State Penitentiary. Huck said the pandemic creates challenges, but they’ll approach them with creativity and flexibility.
Learn more about the Everyone Has a Story Project at everyonehasastoryproject.org.