I would never have thought that I would have the chance to experience a fulfilling and inspirational summer during these crazy times! I came home from college for spring break, not knowing that I would not be returning for the rest of the school year. As time passed and the pandemic worsened, I started to believe that things would never get better—a feeling shared by my college friends. We were home for the summer, and the world was taking a pause.
Midway through June, I had the wonderful opportunity to become part of the engagement team for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. I became excited thinking about the opportunity ahead and that I could be a part of something bigger than myself. Having a chance to encourage children to read during the summer through THIS BOOK IS COOL! was something I could easily relate to, as I love to read myself.
I learned so much in such a short time about how important it is for children to stay engaged with reading and learning over summer so that they do not fall behind the next school year. Engagement was especially important this summer since most camps were closed and children were home.
Going to work did not feel like a job; it felt more like a passion and something that I wanted to do rather than needed to do. Every single book that we labeled and packed meant that another child would be able to experience the love of reading.
This summer, new friendships were formed with my coworkers, even though we could not see each other’s faces because we were wearing masks 24/7! I also felt a connection to the families that I helped guide through this program. It has been rewarding to be a shoulder to lean on in such an unknown and scary time.
I want to express gratefulness and gratitude toward The Patterson Foundation and my coworkers. Working with SCGLR this summer has made a meaningful and impactful impression on me. Although I have not been working here long, I have had the experience of a lifetime and one that I will carry with me in everything I do, including how I connect with my community.