[Source: The Tuscaloosa News]

On Thursday, Cheryl Fondren read a children’s book.

The Success by 6 director read the book “The Day You Begin,” by Jacqueline Woodson in front of her cellphone at the offices of United Way of West Alabama.

She is one of more than 30 community leaders who have volunteered to read a book for kids over the course of the summer as part of the Leaders Are Readers program.

The reading sessions are recorded then distributed to children in the kindergarten through third grade in the Tuscaloosa City Schools through the website

“It’s a great feeling to know that you are helping children be more successful because, if we can give them the tools to read, we are giving them the keys to success for life,” Fondren said.

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Longtime educator, principal and community volunteer Shelley Jones will be a familiar face raising awareness for the 2020-21 United Way of West Alabama campaign.

As chair, Jones can use contacts and connections over 58 years living and working in Tuscaloosa to help explain the needs and functions of the United Way’s 26 member agencies.

“She’s so well-known, and such a dynamic person,” said Monique Scott, the campaign director.

In addition to being the face and voice, Jones has already begun chair duties by establishing a cabinet of three dozen community members, from bankers to educators to government officials to lawyers to automakers to dentists and more, all of them reaching out to help find the funds.

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Governor Kay Ivey has reappointed Donny Jones, Chief Operating Officer for the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and Executive Director of West Alabama Works, to the Alabama Workforce Council.

Formed in 2015 as an employer-led statewide effort to understand the structure, function, organization and perception of the Alabama workforce system, the Alabama Workforce Council facilitates collaboration between government and industry to help Alabama develop a sustainable, top-notch workforce that is competitive on a global scale. Since its inception, the Council has been committed to analyzing important issues related to workforce development and making sound recommendations that will help to create more and better opportunities for all Alabamians.

As director of West Alabama Works, Jones leads the team that supports the Region 3 Workforce Council. This regional workforce development system supports economic and workforce training activities throughout a nine-county area through both urban and rural outreach programs, and innovative initiatives.

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