15May 24

Life is an Adventure

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Congratulations to Avis Reynolds, this year’s Dakota Dunes CDC Literacy Volunteer Award recipient at LIT UP!.


We acknowledged a special literacy volunteer at the LIT UP! gala this year. Currently, Foundations Learning works with over 191 volunteers who put our mission and vision to work in the community, and Avis is no exception.

Thank you. I appreciate the recognition for something I love doing. Now let me tell you why I do it, and perhaps that might encourage others to join the Spark group. Volunteering with the Spark program has been a huge win in my life for three reasons.

First, I really enjoy working with the kids. Kids have a unique approach to life. Generally, life is an adventure for them and when I jump on that bandwagon, life is an adventure for me, too. They give me a different perspective on life. I think the expression is “sucking in at the fountain of youth”. They are knowledgeable about so many things, and I have had some very “Wow! I -did-not-know-that moments. They keep me thinking younger than my many years. And that is a great boost to my retirement. Yes, that is what kids do for me.

Secondly, now what can I do for these young learners? As their reading guide, I can help them become independent readers. I can help to develop and reinforce reading strategies. Most importantly, I can help to build their self-confidence, and I can encourage a “yes-I-can” attitude. I can help them develop an appreciation for books. Hopefully, they will see how much fun it actually is to read books. iPads are good, but so are books.

And last, number 3. This is a nod to the Spark program which has made volunteering possible for me. We as volunteers are well-prepared before we set out to share our skills. We are trained for the “how-to” of being a reading guide. The program is set up for success for both the reading guide and the learners. And once we are out in the schools or for those of us who are working with students online, the format for the Spark program is easy to follow and deliver. If help is needed, there is always support available in the school or from the office. The learners get one-on-one attention. Having their own reading guide is a big win for the learners. Seeing them succeed is a big win for the reading guide.

In conclusion, if you have ever considered being a Spark volunteer, or you know someone who is interested, I encourage you to give it a try. The learners will love you, and you will get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping young learners. It is definitely a win-win situation.

Congratulations, Avis!