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Reading is FUNdamental for Baltimore organization

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The Maryland State Department of Human Resources is noted for providing assistance to families with dependent children. Wednesday, May 21, 2014, however, found the department providing a different kind of service.

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A group of local authors came together to display and feature their works at the Literary and Literacy Exchange event held in the lobby of the offices located at 311 W. Saratoga Street. Organized by program manager Brian Neal, the event featured various performances in an effort to promote literacy, the foundation for all life skills.

The authors included: Jerome Redd, Jimi Fardan, Tremontenia Morgan, Danielle J. Hall, Cherrie Amour, Joyce Frazier and Angela Davis with music provided by jazz bass guitarist Kenny Wright. The vendor on hand was Otis Taylor, who sold giftware to the attendees.

The program was emceed by Brian Neal, who also engaged the audience members with his smooth baritone vocalizations. The keynote speaker spoke about the importance of literacy and the roles that stakeholders should play in assuring the perpetuation of literacy to generations to come.

Neal had been pondering the idea of a literature festival for a two-year period after the previous event fizzled when the book fair company went defunct. Through networking and careful planning, Neal was able to make his idea come to fruition.

The authors present shared some of their experiences as well as their writings with the employees who were in attendance during their break times. Attendees appeared to be enjoying the event which lasted from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

According to Neal, the Literary and Literacy Exchange promises to be an annual and even bigger event.

Brian Neal can be reached at the Maryland State Department of Human Resources at 410-767-8376.

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