Last week a group of high school students sent handwritten letters to secondary students at School of Hope in Zambia. The students are members of the International Girls Club at Cary Grove High School in Cary, Illinois. In years past, our team has hand-delivered short notes and homemade cards to kids when we have traveled to Zambia to work with our partner schools, but we’ve never attempted a pen pal project due to the turn around time and cost of shipping. However, when club sponsor Sonya Wadlington and I met to discuss the project, we decided scanning the letters and sending them via email to School of Hope would be best. We also chatted about possible topics and culturally sensitive content to include in the letters. The thoughtful teens got to work and hand wrote letters; many included little drawings in the margins to extend the information shared.
Here are a few favorite lines from the pen pal letters explaining high school life at Cary Grove:
- I take 5 classes/subjects and go to them every day.
- My favorite subject this year is either English or physics!
- Art lets me express my creativity.
- I really like science and I hope to become a doctor when I’m older.
- I would like to tell you about my family because family means a lot to me.
- That is my true goal for my time at school. To become a better thinker in order to eventually pursue my true passion.
- I’m also planning on going to a university after high school.
- In my eyes, to achieve happiness, you must do what you love, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
- One of my favorite foods to eat is ice cream.
- I’m really looking forward to exchanging letters because learning about other cultures has always been an interest of mine.
- I’m so glad we get to write to each other from halfway across the world.
- What does your schedule look like each day?
- Do you know multiple languages?
- What types of food do you like to eat?
- Does your school have uniforms?
School of Hope director Kathleen Schwartz will share the letters this week, and hopefully, the International Girls Club will receive letters back from their Zambian pen pals in December.
Love to bowl? So does A to Z!
We will be hosting our 1st annual family-friendly Hunger Bowl on Thursday, November 17, 2016. Come to Metro Bowl anytime from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. to raise money for Shine Reading Academy’s lunch program. Bring your whole family for unlimited bowling for just $40. Individual tickets are $20 for adults. Come bowl a few games while supporting an amazing school in Zambia.
As the 2016-17 school year began last week, I spent some time reflecting on the summer months along with A to Z’s work in Zambia this past June. A wonderful memory that continues to linger in my mind is our day of professional development with 150 Zambian teachers at School of Hope.
Teachers from all over the area came together to learn and grow; men and women wanting to make a difference in the lives of their students. Dave, Betty and I provided teachers with opportunities to attend sessions on reading, writing, asking questions, and literacy in content areas. There was something for everyone.
Without a doubt, I am confident that A to Z is continuing to impact the lives of Zambian students and teachers. Although our nonprofit is small, our educational impact is large. By providing valuable support, we have increased literacy levels and the love of reading within schools and communities.
A to Z Literacy Movement had the privilege to host another local book fair this morning at Coventry Elementary School in Crystal Lake. Over one hundred students in grades first through fifth came to check out the selection of free books and then choose a few for their home libraries.
As we strive to meet our 2016 goals, A to Z will continue to provide books for children in McHenry County and other parts of Illinois in hopes in making a difference locally by promoting the love of reading and increasing literacy levels.
A to Z Literacy Movement is grateful to Mrs. Welder’s English class of Crystal Lake Central juniors for once again taking on the wonderful project of *Books in Bags*. Each CLC student chooses a fiction or nonfiction picture book and practices reading and rereading the book aloud. The students then head to the school library to record their reading with Mrs. Nelson, Crystal Lake Central’s librarian. Once the recording is complete, the students create a short comprehension check and discussion guide with questions and prompts to be answered or discussed by students in our Zambian partner schools. The *Books in Bags* are a fantastic asset to any classroom or library listening station, and we are really excited about this year’s selection of picture books. Thank you so much to the teachers and students involved in this literacy project!