In our first meeting of fall 2013, I said to the Superstition Review interns that I wanted to make outreach part of our mission. Every semester we have a group of 40 energetic, creative, and talented people. It’s a perfect base for giving back to our community. I wanted something that would link specifically to our work in literature and the arts.
That’s when my fiction editor Kevin mentioned Read to Me at UMOM. Every Tuesday volunteers spend the evening reading to the children who live in the shelter. My Student Editor-in-Chief Erin communicated with UMOM and organized our first outing. And so a group of our interns arrived at UMOM on a Tuesday that semester ready to read. I want to share my experience from that night.
The first rule of Read to Me is that the child chooses you. I had to wait a little while before someone sat beside me. Finally, a girl wandered over to my table. She was seven years old and had tight spiral curls and big brown eyes. She smiled up at me and said, “I’m Nicole.”
I said, “I’m Trish. What should we read?”
Nicole picked a colorful I Spy book. I turned to the first page and asked Nicole to read the text under the pictures. “I spy a parrot, a picture frame, and a pig,” she said. We both giggled and then studied hard to find those objects on the page.
On page two, Nicole read, “I spy a camera, a sewing machine, and a nightgown.” We were getting pretty good at finding things! Every time I found an object Nicole said, “Good job!” When Nicole found an object I said “Nice work!”
On page three, Nicole read, “I spy a bottle of glue, a lion, and a fan.” Nicole frowned for a moment and then looked up at me.
She said, “Do you think that means a Chinese fan or an electric fan?”
“You know, Nicole?” I said. “That’s a really good question.”
We went on reading and searching for objects until Nicole decided to move on to another reader. I drove home that night thinking about little Nicole. Her warm smile. Her happy attitude. Her intellectual curiosity. And how smart she was for asking the right questions.
Nicole inspired me to ask a question too. What more can I do to help?
I continue to take groups of interns to Read to Me. We’ll be there on October 14th. But we’re also so excited that at 7:30 AM on Saturday September 27th we’re going to be part of the 6th Annual UMOM Walk for Homeless Families (1K Walk & 5K Run). I hope you will join our team or donate. Here are the specifics:
In 2009, UMOM Women’s Auxiliary founded The Walk for Homeless Families to help spread community awareness about family homelessness and raise funds for UMOM. The walk is a family-friendly, fun and inspiring way to help UMOM break the cycle of homelessness.
Early-bird registration for the 1 Mile Walk and 5K Run is only $25 for adults and $20 for students until September 15, 2014. Children under 3 are free and do not need to register. All registered people, in attendance, will receive FREE admission into the zoo that day!
Event Location: The Phoenix Zoo
Registration 9/27/2014 6:30 am – 7:15 am
Walk/Run Begins 9/27/2014 7:30 am
Adult Registration: $25.00
1 Adult Registration that includes admission to The Phoenix Zoo for the day of the walk.
Student Registration: $20.00
1 Student Registration that includes admission to The Phoenix Zoo for the day of the walk