Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Reading is FUNdamental

Back when I was a kid, in the late 60s or 70s, there was a literacy organization that advertised alot, probably on the stations that aired cartoons. I can still hear the jingle in my head and picture the graphic -- "Reading is FUNdamental!" Do any of you in my age range remember that? How basic is reading in our day to day lives? Can you even imagine not having that ability? I think it is something that 99.9 or more percent of us take for granted. It's not something we feel grateful for. We just do it, almost as if we were born knowing how. But what if you couldn't read? Imagine what a handicap that would be! For some, that is a reality.

For that reason, I'm feeling blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer in a new mission with my church, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles. We have started tutoring 2nd graders at Oak Park Elementary in reading.

In general, throughout my life, I've had a hard time finding a service niche or campaigning for a worthy cause. I'm not one to wield power tools and build a house in three days or fly to a foreign country to dig wells. I don't protest or picket perceived injustice. I shy away from rowdy crowds or even large groups of people. But I love interacting with people one-on-one. Helping kids learn to read . . . this is something I can feel passionate about. This is something I can do that I feel can truly make a positive difference in people's lives. I'm excited about it. The only other time in my life when I've volunteered long-term was the seven years (K-6) of my boys' elementary education and I worked a day or two a week in their school library. Shelving books was tedious, but I loved helping kids find that perfect book.

These children who need help at Oak Park Elementary impress me. They are precious. They struggle to sound out most every word. But they are determined. They work so hard. They truly want to learn to read. They are polite, respectful, and so grateful to us volunteers. The smile on their face when they get a word right and when they hear me say, "Great job!" . . . just pierces my heart.

Our church has also partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters to do Lunch Buddies at Oak Park Elementary. There are never enough volunteers for projects like these. If you think you might enjoy participating in the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these children, come join us at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles. We have a contemporary worship service Sunday mornings at 9:00 with an incredible praise team led by local musician extraordinaire Trip Wamsley, and a traditional service at 11:00 with a fantastic choir led by musician and Barbe High School's chorus director Chris Miller. We have a wonderful pastor, Chan Willis. And our congregation is "growing with the Spirit." For more information, check out our wesbite here.

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