SMART changes lives. As adult SMART readers we like to think we are giving something wonderful to the children. The truth is they give us back something just as wonderful. One hour a week I plunked down to read with lively, energetic, curious children. One hour a week I watched timid children bloom. One hour a week I listened to their hopes and fears. One hour a week proved their growing confidence with books. One hour a week gave me such joy!
Then I became a SMART volunteer coordinator. Thank you volunteers for the time, expertise, and stories that you shared. Each volunteer was a different version of a mother hen. Some bought jackets in the winter for children who went without. Some provided unconditional friendship in difficult times. Others brought consistency to young lives. Men became positive role models for children in households headed by single mothers.
And the teachers showed such generosity! Teachers recognize the value that SMART brings to their students. Teachers allow their neediest children to leave the classroom to listen to stories. Teachers provide extra practice materials for volunteers to help students succeed. Teachers share student success with volunteers.
SMART changes lives. Students feel success. Volunteers feel valued. Coordinators feel grateful. Teachers feel support. SMART builds community.