Personality: Hassan Fountain Sr.

Spotlight on founder of Fountain for Youth Foundation

11/24/2017, 2:07 p.m.
Hassan Fountain Sr. has a vision of placing children’s libraries in every subsidized housing community across Virginia, especially in Richmond, ...

“We moved to Halifax where my mother grew up and presently teaches kindergarten through second grade. That’s where I graduated high school. That was a 360-degree change in culture and living.” His mother, he says, “did everything she could to keep us safe and educated. No matter where we lived, she made sure we had books in our apartment. She made sure we had books to read every day. My family never threw away books.”

Through reading, his mother instilled in him and his siblings that they could discover places and opportunities in the world outside of their immediate environment.

“All of my mother’s sisters were educators. My mother’s uncle was the president of Fayetteville State College. I had influential people in my family, whether educators or entrepreneurs,” Mr. Fountain says. “I am one of them, no matter my job title.”

His older sister, Pia Fountain, teaches special education at Armstrong High School in Richmond. “I want the people to get involved — to help the foundation restore our future,” he says. This is our passion for all children.”

Meet literacy advocate, foundation founder and this week’s Personality, Hassan Fountain Sr.

Occupation: Machine operator for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated.

Duties: To make sure machine works effectively.

Community involvement: Founder and CEO of Fountain for Youth Foundation.

Date and place of birth: June 27 in Halifax County.

Current residence: Richmond’s Ginter Park area.

Education: Bryant & Stratton College, business management.

Family: Wife, Emerald; and children, Parash, 23, fraternal twins, Hassan Jr. and Tashan, 21, Ymonee, 19, Harmony, 4, Melody, 2, and Jamal,1.

When I created Fountain for Youth Foundation: November 2016.

Reason for founding: I grew up in South Side in a low-income area and ran for Richmond City Council in the 3rd District and knocked on many doors. A lot of kids in the 3rd District didn’t have reading materials. I wanted to put books out in the community.

Foremost mission: To spread and uplift literacy throughout the state.

Why I am excited about this organization: I see it bringing people together.

How many books have been distributed throughout the community: Approximately 32,000 since January.

How many community libraries have been created: Eight community libraries have been created. Seven are in the Richmond area, with the latest one created two weeks ago in Mosby Court, and one library in Halifax County.

Why reading is important: Reading is fundamental.

How to become a volunteer: Contact us at (804) 687-6802.

How I start the day: I get up around 7:30 a.m. and usually make my wife some coffee.

Perfect day for me is: Getting and giving away 2,000 books.

If I had more time, I would: Find some investors to build a school.

Favorite book genre: Westerns.

Best thing my parents ever taught me: My mother, Vivian Graves, who is a schoolteacher, taught me to never give up and always follow your dreams.

Author who influenced me the most: Les Brown.

What I’m reading now: A lot of children’s books and some history books.

The one thing that I’ve learned in life: Never judge a book by its cover.

My next goal: To create a vocational school.