Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Gift of Volunteering – Go Dog Go

by Lois Jamieson
Six years ago I walked onto the StarShine campus. It was my first day as the volunteer librarian.
I planned to read stories to the kindergarten through sixth grade classes and had chosen books I thought the children would enjoy. What an experience I had. I didn’t know any of the children in the school; in fact, I had never seen them or talked to them. I had a schedule to keep and my first visit was to the Kinder Class. I chose a Dr. Seuss book called Go Dog Go. In the story a lot of dogs run around like crazy trying to get things done. Toward the end a lady character asked a dog – “Do you like my hat?”  The answer was “No, I do not like your hat.”
With that in mind, I decided to take a chance and wear a crazy hat as I read the book to the five and six year olds. I searched through my closet and on a high shelf, along with all my hats I never wear, was the perfect one. It was canvas with a high crown and somewhat of a droopy brim. It was perfect. I got it down and decorated it with flowers, ribbons and a few strange feathers. I was ready for the Kinders, but were they ready for me?
Just before entering the classroom I plopped the hat on and sailed in. The children stared at me with eyes wide and then burst out laughing when they saw this strange white haired grandma in a very strange and funny looking hat. I read for about fifteen minutes and then moved on to the first grade where I repeated my performance.  Needless to say, I did not wear the hat in the other classrooms.
This was the beginning of reading many books to many children and making friends along the way. The crazy hat is back on my hat shelf – sans decorations. When I see it I can’t help but remember the first time I read to the children at StarShine. Six years later I still see some of the students that were in that Kinder Class, only now they are fifth and sixth graders.
My best advice to volunteers is to have fun and then – “Go Dog Go.”
If you enjoyed this inspiring story, you should read Library a la Carte
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