Alumna Ashley Goveia Leaves Legacy of Literacy

Alumna Ashley Goveia Leaves Legacy of Literacy 1

Before her graduation, recent high school alumna Ashley Goveia spent developed the Early Childhood Literacy Program with two of the district’s elementary schools, Commack Road and Wing, to help inspire children of the Islip community to read. Goveia was invited to be a speaker at the Sayville Rotary Club’s annual Literacy Celebration and the Rotary District 7255 leadership meeting, and was presented with the Rotary Literacy Leadership Award for 2015 and 2016 for this project.

Goveia’s interest in literacy began when she was 3 or 4 years old.

“I heard on TV that there were young children who were homeless and I wanted to make them feel better by giving them my favorite books,” she said. “I collected all of my books in a blanket and dragged them to the door, to give what I thought were the only six homeless children in the world something special. I repeatedly asked my mom when were we giving my books to the kids, until we figured out a way to do it.”

They started the Legacy of Literacy program 13 years ago through local Rotary Clubs, proving thousands of free books to hundreds of children. As Goveia grew older, she continued working on these events, but also wanted to do her own projects, which led to the Islip program.

“I chose to develop the Early Childhood Literacy Program because I can relate to children struggling to read, as it was my most difficult area of study, and it has been my inspiration to give to others since I was small. I wanted to inspire small children to love to read and become lost in a good story, and I especially wanted to give them something to love that they could have their entire lives.”

The process began with Goveia meeting with the elementary principals to introduce the project and to try to develop specific events tailored to their schools. The events provided fellow high school students who participated with community service credit. Goveia also chose younger Interact Club members to shadow her so that the club can keep the project going after her graduation.

“Literacy and community service is something I have dedicated myself to for nearly my entire life,” she said. “I know I will continue serving my community throughout my life and I hope in some small way, to inspire others to do the same.”