This fall semester we partnered with the YWCA downtown shelter to provide them with monthly mentors; in return they gave us with plenty of smiles and appreciation. Lisha Terre, volunteers as the Children’s Resource Coordinator for this program and worked with Lisa Xiong, the Director of the Children’s Program at the YWCA to understand the children’s needs. Madison Reading Project sends four volunteers twice a month to engage with the children who live at the shelter through various activities. Each month, Lisha prepares a themed activity that includes a literacy project, a corresponding book and snack. In October, the children could choose from matching letters on pumpkins or completing a pumpkin-themed literacy based worksheet. They were then read a book about pumpkins to the children as they munched on delicious pumpkin cookies!
Between books and activities the group also finds time to just play and let the children be kids. We are there to assist with literacy and education but we also love to have fun with what the kids want to do and need. Susan Wilcox, one of our mentors/volunteers says, “I have experienced the joy of the children as we work with them one on one with the literacy activities. They are so inquisitive. I especially like when they put their own spin on the activity. I still proudly display artwork that was created special for me. Taking the time to just be with a child, to listen to them, to laugh with them and YES to play with them has brought me joy and happiness. I am appreciative of the opportunity”.
Madison Reading Project mentor, Karen Staebell states, “Giving the Mom’s and Dad’s a little time is beneficial to kids, the parents, and to ME! It’s a win-win in my book."We enjoy our volunteer time at the YWCA and love this partnership of literacy mentor-ship.