CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT)— Chris McGilvery, was named the grand-prize winner of the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy award from Judith’s Reading Room earlier this month.

McGilvery is the WTAMU instructional technology designer and is also the founder of Leaders Reader Network,

McGilvery earns the award for his nonprofit work that helps provide new books and snacks to underprivileged students.  

“To receive this award is a huge honor,” McGilvery said. “To know that Judith Krug is a big part of our work is an honor, and we’re living out her legacy is an honor. But what’s need is that the teachers and students we’re working with are the heroes.”

McGilvery founded the Leaders Reader Network in 2012 in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Since moving to Canyon in 2019, MGilvery and his wife have worked with teachers to pair older students with younger ones in an effort to foster leadership skills, enable child-centered coaching and encourage a love of reading. 

“Education provides freedom for kids. It doesn’t matter what situation they’re in.l,” McGilvery said. “Books help promote the love of learning and reading, so giving books to kids in underserved communities is something I’m passionate about.”

This year, the network worked with third-grader Sydney Rogers and teacher Paige Fisk to provide books to all 767 students at Reeves Hinger Elementary School in Canyon.

“Sydney didn’t feel like she didn’t have closure to her school year,” McGilvery said. “She didn’t get to say goodbye to her classmates, so her teacher, Paige Fisk, and Sydney created care packages brand new books and healthy snacks. They even delivered them to those in need.”

McGilvery was awarded a $2,500 grant by the organization. 

 Teachers and students who’d like to be a part of McGilvery’s Leaders Reader Network project should apply by Aug. 14.