Avery Franques encourages people who utilize the library in Godchaux Park to wear a mask and practice other COVID-19
Joining Avery Franques, third from right, during the ribbon cutting are (L-R) Abbeville
Councilman Brady Broussard Jr., Friends of Godchaux Park’s Lloyd Doré III, Mayor Mark Piazza, Avery’s sister, Cecelia, Councilman Francis Plaisance and Donita Franques, Avery’s mother and Girl Scout Troop leader.
Franques’ love of reading inspires her
Good things come to those who wait.
Avery Franques had to play the waiting game when it came to completing her Girl Scout Gold Project, creating a little free library in Abbeville’s Godchaux Park.
She was ready to put it up in March. Then the COVID-19 pandemic changed that plan.
“I thought it was best to wait until things got a little better,” said Franques, 16, who is heading into her senior year at North
Vermilion High School.
That wait was set to end a couple of weeks ago. Again, Franques had to reschedule due to weather.
Finally, Franques’ wait is over.
On Tuesday, Abbeville officials and others joined Franques to cut the ribbon on the little free library. It is located near the 3rd Street side of Godchaux Park.
For Franques, it is not just a good thing at the end of this wait, it’s a great thing.
“I am so happy that it’s up,” Franques said. “I think it is going to be a wonderful addition to the park. A lot of people have already expressed interest.
“I am very excited to see where this is going to go.”
In Girl Scouts, the Gold Award is the highest level of achievement. It is the equivalent to the Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. A Gold Award Project not only helps better the community, but means something to the Girl Scout herself.
“It has to have a contribution to the community,” Franques said. “It’s supposed to improve our community, but it’s also supposed to be something that is close to your heart.”
Reading is certainly close to Franques’ heart.
“I have been an avid reader my entire life,” Franques said. “I love to read and want to be able to share that with others.”
The little free library allows people to take a book and return it later. There are books for all ages in the library.
“I especially hope that the little kids who come to play in the park will enjoy it,” Franques said. “They can play on the swing sets and the slides. After they are done playing in the park, they can pick out a book to take home to read.”
Franques asked that anyone who utilizes the library to practice social distancing and other measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I ask that people make sure their hands are clean,” Franques said.
Masks are also strongly encouraged by the Girl Scouts of America.
“As Girl Scouts,” Franques said, “we believe it is important to promote the wearing of masks. It is our duty to be role models of social distancing practices.”
Abbeville Mayor Mark Piazza, who helped cut the ribbon for the library, is encouraged by Franques’ efforts.
“I think this is a great addition to the park,” Piazza said. “A lot of people come out here just to enjoy the sunshine. They can now grab a book and go sit on a bench to read.
“It is also great to see a young person interested in improving our community and our beautiful parks.”
Franques attended an Abbeville City Council meeting last August to seek approval to place the library in Godchaux Park. She also received the OK from the Friends of Godchaux Park, the group that serves as the caretaker of the park.
Donita Franques, Avery’s mother as well as her Girl Scout Troop leader, is proud of everything that Avery has accomplished.
“She has worked on this for a year,” Donita Franques said. “She has been in Girl Scouts since she was five. She has never skipped a year. She is diligent and she loves to read.
“That is her favorite thing to do.”
Franques’ effort with this project does not end with the library going up.
“I am going to maintain the library,” Franques said. “I am the main steward, so I will probably come twice a week to check on it. I will add books, if there needs to be books added.
“I will keep watch over it to make sure it continues and people have an opportunity to read.”
That is the inspiration Franques wants to people to take from this project.
“I hope this does inspire people to read,” Franques said.