December 2, 2021

Started as Strangers…Ended as Friends

Shalia Moore-Hayes, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Editor’s Note: The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) is looking forward to partnering with groups, nonprofits, agencies, and faith-based organizations to offer Stronger Me, Stronger We and Mind in the Making workshops throughout the Suncoast region. Please email connect@gradelevelreadingsuncoast.net if you would like to offer this workshop or if you would like SCGLR to hold a workshop for your group.

Team Communicative met on Monday evenings for five hours to connect over content from Stronger Me, Stronger We and Mind in the Making. Team Communicative was special because it consisted of women who had never met before joining the workshop. Participants included parents, grandmothers, a local Parent Teacher Association president, and participants who worked with children in schools and childcare.

At the start of the workshops, guests were not comfortable with sharing, but it was clear connections had been made by the fifth session. This was especially prevalent during teaching artist Freda William’s session on “Using Objects to Communicate.” Participants displayed items that communicate something about themselves. Pictures of families, unique objects, and even a foldable bike were shared. It was insightful to listen to everyone discuss their items and what they meant to them. There were many aha moments and also moments of reflection. It was clear that Team Communicative was comfortable.

When participants were asked about content they enjoyed during the workshop, one participant said, “I really enjoyed learning about focus and self-control, the research is interesting, and my favorite was the Marshmallow Test.” After the last class session, another participant mentioned that her daughter won the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Attendance Awareness Poster Contest at her elementary school. She was very proud, and I was pleased that she felt compelled to share the good news, even after the workshop ended—it was evident a connection had been made.

As the great Maya Angelou quoted, “A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”


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