4th Grade Student Uses Pageant Platform to Enhance Local Literacy Efforts

Maddie Farrens, a 4th grade student at Perry Creek Elementary, is using her pageant platform to promote literacy and help boost educational outcomes for kids in public housing.

Farrens placed 5th in the National American Miss Iowa Jr. Preteen Pageant in Waterloo, Iowa in July. This placement qualified Farrens for the National competition, National American Miss National Pageant, which takes place over Thanksgiving at Disneyland.

Part of the competition’s scoring is dependent on a service project. Farrens chose to focus her service project on the Sioux City Housing Authority’s FREE LITTLE LIBRARY, which participates in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Book Rich Environment Initiative. Today, more than one million children from birth to age 8 are living in public housing in the United States. Locally, the FREE LITTLE LIBRARY accepts gently used books to ensure that Sioux City children receiving Section 8 rental assistance have books in their homes.

With a love for reading herself, this was a project Farrens found meaningful.

“I love reading at my house the most,” said Farrens. “I wanted other people to have books to read at their homes and to share my love reading with others.”

In order to really make a difference, Farrens knew she needed to rally support from the community to grow the resources of the LITTLE FREE LIBRARY. Throughout the week of October 2, Farrens held a book drive at Perry Creek Elementary. On Thursday, October 12, Farrens then went around and collected the books donated by her peers. In total, the drive brought in over 3,500 books.

“Students, staff, and families from Perry Creek Elementary and M.G. Clark Early Childhood Center were thrilled to be able to help Maddie with her book drive,” said Amy Denney, Principal of Perry Creek Elementary and M.G. Clark Early Childhood Center. “We focus on literacy and recognize how important it is for children to have access to books and have adults modeling good reading habits.  I am so excited that we were able to support Maddie and the Sioux City Housing Authority.”

The biggest reward from Farrens involvement in the preteen pageants won’t be her titles or crowns, but rather the difference she is making to help spread a love for reading on our local community.