The Story Time Project has had a great start to the year! With over 70 volunteers reading in 22 classrooms and daycares, Whitman students are reaching out to children throughout Walla Walla to share their enthusiasm for reading. On Thursday, October 30th, several volunteers came together at the Walla Walla Public Library to reflect, educate themselves, and become even more invigorated to engage with the children in our community.
The focus of the reflection event was twofold: to give volunteers a space to reflect on their experiences and goals related to The Story Time Project, and to educate them about the importance of their work, their capacity to change kids’ attitudes and approaches to reading and learning, and the amazing resources and opportunities available to them through the Public Library. Liz George, the Young People’s Librarian, helped facilitate the event. She offered us words of wisdom about fostering young people’s love of reading and engagement with books, and she introduced us to all the fantastic resources the library offers to help with those goals. Volunteers then gathered to reflect on the work they do with The Story Time Project. In addition to setting goals and contemplating their effectiveness as readers, volunteers considered how they benefit from their experience, and how their work with Story Time is relevant to their lives and personal goals. Some expressed appreciation for the communication skills their reading helps them build, and others noted the value in gaining experience with children. Some brought up the importance of getting to share their interests and values with young people, through the content of stories. Overall, the theme was clear: as one volunteer put it, “spending time with kids and reading to them makes me feel valued.”