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Mar 2, 2022

Passions Collide

Sponsored Content provided by Alesha Edison Westbrook - Director of Communications, Cape Fear Literacy Council

This article is contributed by Danielle Saintard Valiente, a member of Cape Fear Literacy Council Board of Directors.

As a board member of the Cape Fear Literacy Council, it was truly an honor to pair my passions and contribute to a refresh on campus! Who knew that literacy and interior design would collide -- and land on the blue cinderblock walls of 17th Street?
 
As a child, I read three books a day and wrote books of my own, being quizzed on content and accused of plagiarism by my teachers. Their curiosity and disbelief were not because they had ill intentions, but as I look back, it was an odd occurrence that a young student would be so motivated by and consumed with literacy. My teachers never knew the reason: literacy was my first passion.
 
It was what kept my mind off of the dangerous household I went home to. It was also what kept me focused on a future of getting out of that space. Diving into stories was where I found safety and much-needed distraction. In many ways, literacy was my babysitter.
 
Through the years, I kept reading and writing. My studious nature and drive for education did get me into college, which was my ticket out of that house. Many years later, I met my husband, and he told me about getting into the best house there is, "The Blue House."
 
The Cape Fear Literacy Council is known as "The Blue House" to its students. My husband is one of those grateful students who experienced The Blue House firsthand, as he learned English at CFLC upon moving to Wilmington from Chile in 2006.
 
It is 2022-- a year that seemed ready for a refreshing change, inside and out, even at the Blue House! I was excited to help transform the buildings and spaces that help transform lives, a transformation I have been lucky enough to witness as a board member and wife of a former CFLC student.
 
My trusted colleagues at Morales Construction spent a month at The Blue House, tackling long-needed repairs and executing a makeover that would positively impact the students and staff for years to come!
 
While the staff remained patient, working outside their offices and out of boxes, Jose and his crew removed stained acoustical ceiling tiles and old fluorescent box lights, replacing them with fresh white beadboard ceilings and LED can lights. They removed antique toilets and faucets and replaced them with shiny new fixtures. The team painted old bookshelves with new coats of white, painted interior walls, and replaced a patchwork of flooring with beautiful dark planks -- keeping a high contrast design ready for a highly productive learning environment!
 
Oh, and the part that will catch the eye of drivers on busy 17th Street? A fresh coat of blue on the exterior, some new teal accent walls, and a beautiful wood fence amplifying the Literacy Council's curb appeal, taking it from drab to fab!
 
Never underestimate how your surroundings impact you. They provide inspiration and contribute to personal transformation, which is why I am grateful I was able to find The Blue House, where my passions could collide!



Danielle Saintard Valiente is the Owner and Lead Designer of Port City Design Group. Danielle collaborates with residential and commercial clients in new construction, remodels and project management. Danielle was the recipient of the Wilmington Business Journal’s Women to Watch Awards for the Business Category, The Carousel Center’s Tinman Biggest Heart Award, and she has competed on a state-wide level on behalf of her Toastmasters club. She is currently a Board Member of the Cape Fear Literacy Council where she actively participates on the Fund Development and Marketing Committees.
 

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