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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 6 months ago

Trinity Prep Key Club to propose little free library in MLK Jr. Park

The Trinity Preparatory School club hopes to encourage literacy and get books in the hands of children.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

A group of Trinity Preparatory School students hope to help local residents curl up with a good book — on the green open spaces of Winter Park’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Trinity Prep students from the Key Club are working on installing a little free library at the local park as part of their Keys to Educate project — an initiative to encourage literacy, assist immigrants picking up English as a second language and get books into the hands of children and their families.

Tenth-grade class representative Thomas Lightsey proposed the idea in August, Key Club President and Trinity Prep senior Akua Appah-Sampong said.

“We felt that with the park being such a central location in Winter Park with families and teenagers constantly going to the park, we felt that the free library would be easily accessible to a range of people,” Appah-Sampong said.

The little free library has a simple system: take a book, leave a book. The small collection of different books will change and diversify over time to give locals more books to read, similar to the library that exists at Lake Baldwin Park.

Appah-Sampong said the library would hold at least 20 books and ideally be placed somewhere in the center of the park, she said.

“No matter what, we felt that just by having the free library available to people of various ages, it would help promote reading and education within our community,” Appah-Sampong said.

The Key Club at Trinity Prep is part of the Florida District of Key Club International — an organization that focuses on community service and building character in high school students around the world. Trinity Prep’s club was founded in 1970 with about 20 members. Today the club is comprised of more than 130 high-schoolers passionate about helping others.

In the past, the club has visited Ronald McDonald House Charities and Coalition for the Homeless, and hosted fundraisers for various causes such as UNICEF’s Eliminate Project, which looks to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide.

The library is just the latest effort to lend a helping hand and make Winter Park a better place, Appah-Sampong said.

“I’m extremely hopeful that the free library will leave an impact in the Winter Park community,” she said. “I think that just by having an area where people can go to maybe find new books that maybe they haven’t read before — or even donate books that they were planning on donating to Goodwill — I think people are really going to enjoy having this resource at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.”

Appah-Sampong said the club hopes to present the project to the city of Winter Park in January. The library would hopefully be installed within a month of that approval, she said.


Tim Freed is the Managing Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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