Jul 30, 2014
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VIDEO: Whitehall Library's Kelly Is Pirates Community Champion

Kelly honored at PNC Park for literacy programs.

VIDEO: Whitehall Library's Kelly Is Pirates Community Champion VIDEO: Whitehall Library's Kelly Is Pirates Community Champion VIDEO: Whitehall Library's Kelly Is Pirates Community Champion VIDEO: Whitehall Library's Kelly Is Pirates Community Champion

knows that it has a gem in Paula Kelly, the director of the . And after Friday night, on the diamond of  PNC Park, a good bit of the rest of the Pittsburgh area knows that, too.

The Pittsburgh Pirates honored Kelly on Friday as one of its 2012 Community Champions. She joined Pirates Chairman and a number of other front-office types for an awards ceremony at PNC prior to the team's 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.

"This award is given to six area individuals who are 'champions' in their community," said Chaz Kellem, manager of diversity initiatives for the Pirates, "and have positively contributed to the betterment of the diverse community in our region."

Many Ly, program services manager for the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, who holds an office at the in Whitehall and who works closely with the Whitehall Library on literacy initiatives, nominated Kelly for the award.

"A lot of people could have had the idea of creating the , but she just goes above and beyond of just creating something," Ly said. "She really puts her heart into it to making the events special for our students, and I don't think everyone has that kind of heart. She does."

Launched in 2002, the LEARN, or Library Easy Access for Residents in Need, Bus is part of a program that provides transportation for refugees living in Whitehall's  area to the library for a monthly literacy initiative.

The program has done so well that the  Office of Commonwealth Libraries honored Whitehall , and a tells its story—one that those involved in the program hope will provide a road map for other libraries serving diverse communities.

The LEARN program currently serves between 50 and 80 refugees each month, according to Kelly. The ages of the refugees, who have been settling in Whitehall for the past several years, ranges from toddlers to seniors. In addition to books, attendees have access to computers, crafts and other activities.

Kelly seemed flattered and grateful while standing near home plate on Friday night.

"It's been such an honor," she said, "and I am so appreciative to Many.

"What she doesn't realize is that tutoring and working with the refugees in our community has given me much more than I've given them. And to have this recognition is just icing on the cake."

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