The adventure of reading began for me as a child with weekly trips to the library with my father and my mother saying “I think you’re ready for this book” as she presented me with A Wrinkle in Time.
Years later, in the fall of 1996, I was approached about being a program coordinator for SMART. It was then that I realized that SMART was a place that I could make a difference in the life of a child. As the program coordinator at Crooked River for 14 of the last 15 years, I have seen firsthand the difference the SMART program has made i the lives of many children. Seeing the volunteers connect with their students, witnessing many of them go the extra mile to find ways to encourage and engage their students, and watching the relationships that are built throughout the year, are all rewards for me.
It has been encouraging to see the light go on as a child realizes he can read, and then to see children who have been in SMART go on to graduate from high school, finish college and become successful, contributing members of their communities. What a great return on the investment given by SMART volunteers!