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Grants in Action

Most teachers will agree that in the first three years at school, children learn how to read…..and then they can read to learn and enjoy the endless possibilities books can offer about our world. The Carson Scholars Fund was founded in 1994 by Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy. They have already built 180 Reading Rooms in 23 states and Washington, D.C. These rooms create a literacy enriched environment for children to develop their reading skills and to promote leisure reading as a key to unlocking a child’s full potential.

The BallenIsles Charities Foundation has awarded two grants to fund the building of reading rooms in local West Palm Beach Schools: Northmore Elementary School in 2017 Palmetto Elementary School in 2018.

Students, parents, staff and guests of Palmetto Elementary School gathered on April 19 for a dedication ceremony to open their new Carson Reading Room. In welcome remarks, Palmetto Principal Mrs. Gladys E. Harris paid tribute to the generosity of the BallenIsles Charities Foundation and to the memory of late BallenIsles member Richard Myers, who had served on the Boards of both the Foundation and the Carson Scholars Fund.

“We are grateful to BallenIsles Charities and the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Carson Scholars Fund for helping us cultivate life-long learners through the power of reading.” Principal Harris said.

The opening ceremony featured heartwarming performances, including:

  • The Palmetto Safety Patrol Flag ROTC’s “Pledge of Allegiance”
  • “Stand” by 1st grade student Mia Marquez
  • “Believe” by the Palmetto Panther Chorus
  • “Thinking Big!” by 5th grade student Heather Fortner
  • A video message from Dr. Ben Carson
  • “What a Wonderful World” by Mrs. Small’s 4th grade class
  • Motivational speech by Katie Matos, a former Palmetto Student now attending high school

Inspirational thoughts were also shared by BallenIsles Charities President Mark Freeman, BallenIsles member Joan Meyers, who recalled her late husband, Richard’s, charitable work and rousing closing remarks from Mrs. Candy Carson, wife of Dr. Ben Carson.