Reading Program Reaches Pasco Children
At about five minutes to the hour the lobby is already filing up. Little voices filled with excitement announce their arrival like royal trumpets. Smiles are abundant as children are whisked away and seated. And then there's silence as children wait patiently for what they have come to see: someone reading a book. Although this may sound like a teacher's dream come true, it is the reality of what God is doing in Pasco, Wash., through the Reading Corner.
The Reading Corner is a creative outreach program seeking to develop a love for books in children and teens by reading to them and providing free books to help develop their own personal libraries. Each week kids who attend the program have several award-winning books read to them in groups, followed by an activity or craft related to the theme of books selected. They also receive a healthy snack to take home with them and, most importantly, a free book to take home and read. Although the program is still developing, doors have already been opening to have an even greater impact throughout the city.
The genesis of the Reading Corner is truly a miracle led by the Holy Spirit. Members of the two local churches in Pasco began independently praying for ways to work collaboratively to support the community in addressing issues specifically with children living in an urban environment. God began leading through an impromptu discussion between the church leaders during which it was discovered that both groups had been praying for the same thing.
As the word began to spread about the possibility of a collaborative project centered around reading, volunteers began to respond, and in a few weeks a team of about 22 people began to come together.
The team is blessed to have a number of educators, community workers, librarians, church leaders and more, and all bring valuable insight and expertise. The team sees the Reading Corner as an opportunity to be active in the community by helping serve the children's needs that the school district is unable to meet.
The Reading Corner has also created an opportunity to work collaboratively with other organizations with similar interests. The Children’s Reading Foundation has provided the majority of the books that are given away, and Upper Columbia Conference Adventist Community Services gave a grant to help the program get started. Volunteers from Mid-Columbia Libraries have also come to sign up kids for library cards and to introduce them to their services. Not only does the program reach children but also reaches their parents. Most books provided are bilingual, which helps many families learning a new language have an opportunity to learn together.
The Reading Corner team is hopeful that in the near future they will be able to reach more children in community of East Pasco and share the love of Jesus simple by being positive role models and give their support in what every way possible. If you would like more information or would like to help, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Reading Corner on Facebook.