By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- Where there were once mismatched, mildewed and incomplete texts on student's desks in Eleuthera, Bahamas will now sit gently used, updated and complete sets of learning materials thanks to efforts from a Martin County teacher.
With changes to the Common Core curriculum and new books to go along with it, there were suddenly hundreds of books, only a few years old, which no longer had any purpose.
Tiffany Reddick wasn't the only one desirous of keeping those materials out of a landfill, but she was the one who offered a solution.
Twice she has gone on mission trips over summer break to the Bahamas and served at a local primary school. She noticed while cleaning out the school's library that their books were old and in poor repair. She knew Martin County Schools would be receiving new ones soon, so she asked if the Eleuthera schools could benefit from Martin County's old ones.
"It seemed criminal to throw all those books out," Ms. Reddick said.
The answer was a resounding yes. So, when she returned home this summer, she brought the proposal to the administration at Crystal Lake Elementary where she is a fourth grade teacher. They jumped right on board.
"It was just a matter of taking resources that would have otherwise ended up in the garbage and sending them to somewhere they could be used," Ms. Reddick said.
She contacted the Ministry of Education in the Bahamas and Missionary Flights International who agreed to transport the textbooks over several trips to the area. There was plenty to move because when Hidden Oaks Elementary heard about it they wanted in on it, too.
Now there are five pallets containing more than 1,000 math, science, history and reading materials headed to Eleuthera ready to be put to use.
But while Ms. Reddick was glad her proposal was such a hit, it was never about the publicity for her; it was about helping people.
"I wasn't doing it for any other reason than I knew they needed textbooks and we have textbooks to get rid of," Ms. Reddick said.
It's about setting an example for her three children, too.
"We've always tried to live by two rules: love God and love others...It's what we're supposed to do," Ms. Reddick said. "This was a way that I could help."
There are plenty more leftover books, and more schools in the district want in on the action, but Ms. Reddick and school administrators are trying to come up with other places to send them, as Eleuthera schools can only take so many. Ms. Reddick simply doesn't want to see them go to waste.
"There are opportunities out there for us to make a difference and I think we should take them," Ms. Reddick said. "It's about our schools helping other schools."