April 15 – 22 is National Volunteer Week. I volunteer in a number of capacities – supporting literacy and providing children with the right equipment to begin school are two causes near and dear to me. First, there is the East Side Learning Center in St. Paul, the works with underprivileged children helping them learn to read and discover the love of books.
As a college instructor in Illinois, I saw first-hand the difficulties students encounter in their day-to-day lives and furthering their education when they aren’t proficient in reading. And as a published author, I realized that if kids can’t read, they generally can’t write.
When I toured the ESLC in 2016, I knew I wanted to help give at needs children the necessary tools they need to do both well. When the United Way Twin Cities cut funding to all its literacy programs last year, I was appalled, tried to assist in closing the funding gap.
Stark statistics on the correlation between illiteracy and incarnation rates, pushed me to make literacy one of the crucial causes I support. Literacy is a fundamental right, and it goes together with providing school supplies for students to start the school year off with the proper tools to learn successfully.
That’s the second pet cause of mine – serving as a main volunteer in the Tools for School Campaign the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation undertakes every year. Without access to those tools – backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators, flash drives, crayons, markers, etc. these children are behind their classmates, never able to catch up. Every child deserves the chance to learn, and I’m proud to be a part of that.
There are also volunteer opportunities for authors – mentoring other writers, or as is the case in my community, writers volunteering their time and expertise to assist women in jail write essays, stories, and poems and become published authors. That alone increases their self-worth and esteem.
I believe that literary in reading and writing should be a guaranteed right for all Americans. Find a program in your community and help others discover that knowledge is indeed power.
Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions!