A podium full of information and our “Reading is the Key to Succeeding” bracelets; a table with props to dress up and take pictures in front of the Everyday Hero backdrop; another table with our “Books of Pledge” board, and next to it, the reading nook. An alphabet carpet on the floor, four three-tier shelves full of children’s books, and a rocking chair where we read to the kids while they waited to receive treatment. Welcome to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s (SCGLR) space in the Community Corridor at Remote Area Medical (RAM).
SCGLR’s Everyday Hero campaign officially launched last October, and we couldn’t wait to share it at RAM. Now, receiving tips on how to engage with children to help them succeed in school and in life is as easy as texting Everyday Hero to 77453. The parents at RAM were grateful to receive this information along with SCGLR’s purple bracelets. They showed their excitement when they stopped by our props table and dressed up to take pictures in front of the Everyday Hero backdrop. Parents and children wore the giant purple and yellow glasses, the purple feather boa, the tiaras, but most importantly, the capes are what made them feel like heroes!
Parents are the ones walking this world next to their children, helping them understand everything around them, building their brains, and getting them ready to start school prepared to learn. Those capes were the “aha” moment and a moment of wonder when parents saw themselves exactly as who they are: Everyday Heroes.
Now they were ready to make their pledge: I will read to my children every day for at least 15 minutes to ensure that they’ll accomplish the goal of reading by grade-level at the end of third grade. The SCGLR “Books of Pledge” board filled up that weekend by parents, caregivers, teachers, volunteers, and anyone in our community wanting to take care of our children and see them thrive.
Last, but not least, children and parents were invited to visit SCGLR’s reading area where each child could pick one book and take it home. Thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation for donating more than 2,300 books to ensure that every child at RAM filled their personal library with a new book, or, in some cases, actually start their own personal library.
If wearing the cape was the parents’ moment of wonder, realizing that they could pick any book and take it home with them… that was the children’s moment of wonder.
An 8-year old boy tried giving us back the book he picked after taking a picture in front of the Everyday Hero backdrop. “No sweetie. This is yours,” we said as we handed his book back.
“Is this my book? I get to take it home?” His surprised voice questioned as he looked at us with a joyful and hopeful face.
“Yes, you get to take it home.” His jaw dropped open. He turned around, looked at his mother with his new book in his hands and said, “Look mom. This is mine!” The little boy and his mother thanked the SCGLR team, but that face of wonder was all we needed to see – his genuine happiness for this book.
Wonder at RAM? Yes. Everywhere you looked from the moment you arrived in the parking lot to the moment you walked through the Community Corridor. Wonder everywhere: in the face of a man who has gotten his first ever teeth cleaning, in the face of a woman who received a new pair of glasses she desperately needed, in the face of a child who has started his own book collection with a book from SCGLR.
The weekend Remote Area Medical spent in our community was filled with wonder, and the SCGLR team is lucky to be a part of it again.