Making a Difference: Society for women educators sews over 1,000 gaiters for children

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – This week’s nomination for Making a Difference Monday is the Fayette County chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society.

They typically focus on child literacy programs but they have regrouped this year to meet the unique needs of students by providing gaiters to every child in grades pre-K through 2nd grade in the county. 

The society is made up of past and present women educators, like retired teacher Donna Smith who served as a past president for the society. 

“Delta Kappa Gamma is an international society of women educators. We have chapters all over West Virginia, all over our country and all over the world,” she said. 

The Fayette County chapter has really honed in on promoting early childhood literacy as they partner with Read Aloud West Virginia to send volunteers to read in the schools and also work with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program to provide babies and children with a book every month from 0 to 5 years old.

And for the past 6 years, they’ve been putting on a “Snuggle and Read” program giving out books and sewing blankets for children. 

Marion Tanner is a member of the board of education, a retired teacher and also a past president for DKG.

“One of the most rewarding experiences you can have,” Tanner said. As teachers, we all miss the kids. So it gives us an opportunity to go back into the classroom and be with those kids again.” 

But this year, because of COVID-19, they will not be able to go into the schools.

However, they didn’t take that as a sign to just take the year off. Instead, Director of Elementary Schools Dawn Dooley, who is also a member, says they put their energy into something else the children could really use this year: gaiters. 

“We purchased 200 yards of material in five different colors, and so then the ladies started cutting and sewing all of these gaiters for all of our children in PK to 2nd grade,” Dooley said. “And what’s really nice is as the schools are coming to get these, we’re giving each grade level a different color, so it’s going to be really easy to identify the children.”

Now, each child will have their own gaiter for the start of school. 

The women in DKG say their reading programs and now gaiter program would not have been possible without the support from  the board of education and especially the support from the community.

“I’m just so happy that our village is Fayette County because these people come together and help us and do whatever we need,” Tanner said.

If you would like to sign your child up for the Imagination Library program, head over to imaginationlibraries.com or the website for Fayette County Libraries.

If you know of a business or group that deserves recognition for the way they have stepped up during this time of crisis, you can nominate them at fayettecounty.com/makingadifference.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.