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Oxford resident balances life as mom and director of Lafayette County Literacy Council

Kelly Zeidner
Oxford Stories
knzeidne@go.olemiss.edu

It’s Monday morning, and she’s up early trying to get her two children ready for school. After making sure her son and daughter are ready for the day, Sarah McLellan reflects on motherhood.

“Raising children is a gift,” she said. “You never know what to expect each day.”

McClellan later heads down the street from her home to the Barksdale-Isom House on Jefferson Avenue next to the Square. The Barksdale-Isom House is home to the Lafayette County Literacy Council.

McLellan is the executive director of the LCLC, a non-profit organization promoting literacy in Lafayette County. The mission of the LCLC is “to improve the quality of life in Oxford and Lafayette County through literacy and reading.”

McLellan said the best part about her job is the flexibility. She can work while her kids are in school, and if necessary, she can work from home. McLellan doesn’t have an exact schedule. She said the days are unpredictable, and that makes it exciting.

As the executive director, McLellan has many roles within the LCLC. One of her daily tasks is checking the mail for Dolly Parton Imagination Library forms. Parents in Lafayette County can register their children for this program.

“The Lafayette County Literacy Council gives more than 850 Lafayette County children, birth through age 5, a free book every month as part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program,” said McLellan.

She inputs all information on the registration forms into the computer system so families can receive books. After completing the forms, they are organized in alphabetical folders.

Next, she checks her emails and social media updates for upcoming events. There are frequently fundraising events, so she is constantly making headers and flyers for Facebook and Twitter.

An LCLC intern works four hours a week helping with office work, social media posts and a bi-monthly newsletter. A recent project of an updated newsletter is a main priority at the LCLC.

“I’ve been working on updating the newsletter for all volunteers, sponsors and people interested in LCLC news,” said Adult Basic Literacy Education Program Coordinator Leigh Carole Mullins. “It is a way to keep everyone on the LCLC email list up to date on everything we have been working on.”

The LCLC has three staff members, an intern and a 13-member board of directors. “We really could not do this without the help of so many,” McLellan said. “This small town has the best people who are always eager to get involved and help out however they can.”

There are monthly board meetings hosted at the Barksdale-Isom House planned by McLellan. Board members discuss future events, plan new fundraisers and talk about the fundamentals of the LCLC. Staying organized at the office is key to making sure everything runs smoothly.

The upcoming month of October will be busy for the LCLC. They are having a proceed night at Newk’s Eatery in Oxford, and there will be a Genius Trivia Night on the Square. McLellan works everyday at the office to make sure everything is in place for the fundraisers.

They recently held a “Friendraiser” event at the Barksdale-Isom House. The “Friendraiser” is a drop-in event open to friends and family of LCLC employees, board members and volunteers. It is a way for the public to learn more about LCLC programs and ways they can get involved. McLellan sets up a few stations with books and brochures about each program.

After work, McLellan picks up her children from school. Both children are involved in after school activities, so after a long day at work, she is still busy.

After she putting her son in his baseball uniform, she heads back to the Barksdale-Isom House for the “Friendraiser.” Food and flowers are being set up, and shortly after, guests begin arriving. The casual drop-in is a success as many new people sign up to become volunteers.

“Days always go by fast when you are busy, but I would not want it any other way,” said McLellan.

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