Showing posts with label Volunteer Tuesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volunteer Tuesday. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Inside Nan: Volunteer Tuesday

This is the prison in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It is the only maximum security prison that I ever visited. The young man I visited there for the first time three years ago has recently been transferred here to Rush City Correctional Facility. I'm not on the Visitor List right now for my friend. It is a limited list and it is full now with family and young friends so I am content to write to him. He is the same age almost exactly of one of my sons. The college junior who turns 21 in a few weeks. My friend has been in prison since he was 17 when he and a buddy murdered the buddy's mom and dad. He is serving a life sentence for first degree, premeditated murder. He is the reason I have a presence on Facebook. He is the reason for a lot of the things I do and for many of the things I think about. Today I spent time with Travis, my Tuesday reading buddy. We read about the death of Bartholomew Badger and Dominic's thoughts as he leaned on the shovel after digging the grave. "The moment he stopped being busy, he felt his heart quake. He had to cry. Life was suddenly too sad. And yet it was beautiful. The beauty was dimmed when the sadness welled up. And the beauty would be there again when the sadness went. So the beauty and the sadness belonged together somehow, though they were not the same at all..."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inside Nan: Volunteer Tuesday

We are reading Dominic by William Steig. I picked this book for us because it is stellar in every way and Travis deserves the best. Today we met Bartholomew Badger. From the drawings Travis is sure that the old pig is a "she" ; he is adamant about it. Even when the words say "Mr. Badger dozed off again..." Travis brought a hairbrush with him today, he brushes his hair as I read. "This is my friend's brush", he says. "he said I could hold it for him. I like it but mine is softer." As he brushed I read. We are on a journey together, one not unlike Dominic's journey. "I'm just moving along, on my way to wherever I get, to find whatever I find."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Inside Nan: Volunteer Tuesday

Today Travis and I worked on the vocabulary lists that the reading specialist put in the reading folder. There were four pages of words, today we did the first page of 68 words. Travis could read only eight of them. He read "peanut" for "pennant" and "college" for "cottage". He knew the words "promise" and "police" and "justice". We read the words and talked about the meaning and used it in a sentence. Here are a few examples in Travis's words: OFFICE - where police work, BAGGAGE - when you are at a restaurant and you leave they put your food in a baggage, SAVAGE - when you are really hungry, HOSTILE - where army people work, PRESTIGE - when you press papers down, FESTIVE - when you fasten a belt, COTTAGE - where people pick cotton, CONSTANT - when people bug you. When I explained the definition of MALICE to Travis, a desire to harm others or see others suffer, he said, "I have that." We talked a bit about anger and hurt and his feeling that the world isn't fair. How his auntie died in her 20s of some disease and his uncle was killed in a car crash and how he has anger about how life is. Our time was up right about then. He reminded me that his golden birthday is coming pretty soon, he will be 12 on May 12. The bell rang and he headed to his next class.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Inside Nan: The Secret Remedy Book: A Story of Comfort and Love

The Secret Remedy Book: A Story of Comfort and Love by Karin Cates, Wendy Anderson Halperin (Illustrator)
Lolly loves to visit her Auntie Zep. But when her mother and father leave her alone with Auntie Zep for a whole month, a great sadness develops in Lolly and she can't make it go away. So Auntie Zep finds the perfect remedy for Lolly's sadness, the Great-Great-Grandmother's Secret Remedy Book. The book contains seven different remedies for Zep and Lolly to share. Together they slowly drink fresh apple juice, plant a seed, feed a wild thing, read poetry, and much more.
Here's the Inside Nan -- here's what I love about this book: one child + one adult = remedy. OK, I'm still talking about the previous post. I love the collagy way of the illustrations, the pieced quilty page composition. I love the story - the movement, the dialogue, the unfolding... And, of course, the list of remedies. Here's a couple to savor:

"Plant a seed in good earth...keep the seed safe."

"Write a cheerful letter to some dear soul...put something unexpected in the envelope."

"Read in peace and quiet from a favorite book."

"Dream of doing great things...think of one small, great thing you can do tomorrow."

Inside Nan: Volunteer Tuesday

Every Tuesday during the school year I traipse over to the local Middle School and read with a student. Sounds simple. It is simple. I participate in a program that pairs adult volunteers with students. That's all it is. I show up, the student comes from homeroom and we read together. Remember the post about Tribes? You can do it too, call your local middle school and make yourself available. Write an email to the principal, the librarian, the reading specialist, tell them what days and times you have available. Does this speak to you? Sure we can encourage parents to read to their own children - and I certainly support all efforts and campaigns to do so, but this is something you can do. When I come home from my reading time on Tuesdays I often wonder, why aren't more adults doing this? It is easy. It is important. Say, YES, I can. Say, YES, I will.