Bilal Donates Tablets to YCSD to Encourage Summer Reading

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – To encourage students in Youngstown City Schools to read over the summer, businessman Kelan Bilal has donated tablets to the school district.

The donation was made as part of the Barbershop Reading Initiative Developing Growth in Education program, now in its third year in area schools. Bilal, who founded the Bridge program, owns Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge in the Southern Park Mall

“Even though everything was shut down preventing this year’s Bridge  program from launching, I still wanted to be able to get some type of learning tools in some kids’ hands,” he said in a statement. “I was saddened because in the barbershop, we had to remove all of the books because of COVID-19 so it made me think alternatively.”

Bilal donated 20 Amazon Fire tablets, which supports both e-books and audiobooks, giving students a way to read in whichever manner works best for them.

“Literacy continues to be an emphasis for us at YCSD,”said school district CEO Justin Jennings said. “Literacy, which includes reading, writing, comprehension and fluency, provides the foundation for everything else. We’re so thankful for Mr. Bilal’s contribution. He’s truly a business and community leader who recognizes the importance of quality education and participates in helping our school district provide it. We appreciate that and we appreciate him.”

The tablets will be given to students in kindergarten through third grade. Bilal has worked with Linda Hoey, the district’s chief of family engagement, to identify the students that will receive the tablets.

“We have family engagement coordinators at each of our school buildings,” Hoey said. “They identified scholars in each of our elementary schools who they thought would get the most from Mr. Bilal’s generous contribution.”

Pictured: Kelan Bilal, owner of Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge and founder of the Barbershop Reading Initiative Developing Growth in Education program, donated 20 Amazon Fire tablets to Youngstown City Schools.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.