Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 21: Literally Literary

I am part of the local United Way's Emerging Community Leaders program for 2013.  In addition to attending a series of seminars, networking events, and volunteer functions, we are asked to develop a service project to help a community organization.

We were assigned teams according to the issues in which we were most interested.  I ranked literacy highest so my team project was a literacy event at a small branch of the local library.

Our basic premise was to create a fun environment to encourage reading and to send each child who participated home with a book.  We organized a book drive and collected more than 300 books (my co-workers alone donated 175 books!).

Despite a few last minute changes (i.e. all of our senior volunteers cancelling due to a scheduling conflict), we had a great event.  I think about 40 kids showed up.  And, we had 3 or 4 volunteers show up from the community to help.

Our event was called "Treat Yourself to a Book" since it was held the day before Halloween, but the library had a banner from a previous event called "Scare up a Good Book".  This is a picture of my ECL team.  Behind us is a table of books on display for the kids to take home.

We had such a great turn out with the book donations that we were able to give each child two books to take home and still have plenty left over to donate to two other local organizations in need.

The librarian, Amanda, was so great with the kids!  Since none of us had ever hosted an event like this before, we had a very loosely-structured idea of how the event was going to be run.

"Treat Yourself to a Book" began with one of our team members greeting everyone and explaining the premise of the event while a few of us handed out name tags for the kids to fill out.

From there, Amanda went into her rendition of a book called "The Creaky Door" and had the kids participate with a lot of the sound effects.  Once we had their attention, we separated into small groups to read to the kids.

I chose "Green Eggs and Ham", and since my kids had already read that book, they read it to me.  A few of them got a little excited and loud in the library, and I had to remind them about using inside voices.

But it was great to see them so excited about reading!

After everyone was finished reading their books, we all met back in the community room for some fun activities.  We had Halloween-themed mad libs for them to fill out and some arts and craft supplies set up for them to create these really cute bookmarks.
 And of course, there were snacks!  

We tried to make them a little healthy by including apples and apple cider, but the kids were more interested in the cookies and treat bags.  

Amanda closed the event with a fun, interactive game for the kids which got everyone's attention and told them the event was winding down.  You could tell she's done this a time or two before.

All in all, it was a great experience.  I'm glad I got to be a part of it!

Coming Up... Week 22: Make it Work!

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