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Nonprofit Project S.H.I.E.L.D. receives delayed education grant money

The Dollar General award was nearly a year late because of an electronic glitch

Project S.H.I.E.L.D. officials, from left, Operations Director Eddie Bankston, founder/Executive Director Muarlean Edwards and Community Liaison Carol Corbett show off a check symbolic of a $2,000 Dollar General summer reading grant awarded to the nonprofit for a planned reading program with the Dougherty County School System. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

Project S.H.I.E.L.D. officials, from left, Operations Director Eddie Bankston, founder/Executive Director Muarlean Edwards and Community Liaison Carol Corbett show off a check symbolic of a $2,000 Dollar General summer reading grant awarded to the nonprofit for a planned reading program with the Dougherty County School System. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

ALBANY — It was late in arriving — an electronics error delaying actual delivery by almost a year — but officials with Albany-based nonprofit Project S.H.I.E.L.D. received funding recently from the $2,000 summer reading grant awarded by Dollar General in 2013.

The grant was awarded to help with a reading program at Turner Elementary School. Project S.H.I.E.L.D. founder and Executive Director Muarlean Edwards said it will be utilized throughout the Dougherty County School System.

“In 2010, Project S.H.I.E.L.D. conducted a study on the impact truancy had on inmates in the Dougherty County Jail,” Eddie Bankston, the nonprofit’s operations director, said Monday morning. “Many of those inmates admitted that they had problems with reading, so the plan was to try and implement a reading program in the school system, initially at Turner Elemenatry.”

Project S.H.I.E.L.D. community liaison Carol Corbett said the program will focus on Albany history.

“We plan to build a partnership with the community that will allow us to create a reading program that focuses on the history of this community,” Corbett said. “We’ll focus on economic factors like jobs and environmental factors like the Flint River. A lot of the kids at some of our East Albany schools rarely even go west of the river.”

Edwards said that special attention will be given to students who struggle to read because of learning disabilities or students who are learning English as a second language.

“A lot of the focus will be on kids with special needs,” Edwards, a candidate for the state House District 153 seat, said. “We hope to expand our reading program to target specific issues our young students face.”

Bankston said Project S.H.I.E.L.D. will seek other grants to enhance its planned reading program.