Fighting Poverty with Passion
When you are mostly stationed in the office every day, it is easy to lose touch with why you are constantly recruiting volunteers. I have been out to all of our partner schools to meet with the site coordinators, but I was still missing the experience of working with children and not just for them. This past week, I finally was able to do just that. We were having a Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) book distribution at one of our schools. They needed some extra hands, and I was definitely willing to help.
At these events, Communities In Schools partners with RIF to distribute the book donations we receive. We lay all the books out on tables and the children get to choose one book to add to their home library. Setting out all the books for the children is like a trip down memory lane. Who doesn’t get nostalgic when they see “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Day” or the “Little Critter” books by Mercer Mayer? It made me think back on how large my home library was when I was a child and how oblivious I was to my fortune. These children acted like they had walked into a room filled with Wii’s and Barbie Dream Houses. Their eyes were so big when they saw all those books. They were so excited to not only have a new book, but also to choose from such a large collection. Some wanted books about sports, while others wanted ones about princesses. I helped them find a book that they would want to take home and immediately read. There were also those students that wanted all the books and just could not decide. Luckily, we will be coming back to their school two more times to distribute books.
It was so great to spend a few hours with the students and put everything into perspective. It was obvious why it was so important to recruit volunteers for these RIF events to be successful. Now, I am looking forward to enlisting community members for the many more RIF events this year, coming to a total of 36 events at 12 schools. It is always wonderful to see children enthusiastic about reading, when it seems like a lost hobby in the electronic age we live in. I cannot think of a better thing to give a child than a book. I do not know how I would have made it through childhood if Alexander was not there to relate to on bad days.
– Christina Caryl, Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA, Communities in Schools Greater New Orleans. Visit Communities in Schools Greater New Orleans, to learn more about the outreach program and volunteer opportunities in your area.