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Family Literacy Day 2016

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Apr 22, 2016
by Charlotte Payne

Carl Sagan once said "One of the greatest gifts adults can give-to their offspring and to their society-is to read to children." For 16 years now, Belmont has been doing just that, through Family Literacy Day. We are so grateful to all who helped out - we couldn't have done it without you, and we hope you know what kind of impact you have had on these kids' lives! I want to share with you some stories from this year's Family Literacy Day, and what it has taught me.

In 2010 the Poetry Contest became an addition to Family Literacy Day. This year was my 2nd year to be a part of this, and I continue to see the value this opportunity brings to these kids' lives. Not only does it inspire them to write, but it encourages their creativity and talent. I hope that everyone got the chance to listen to the five songs of the finalists, because each one was astounding. While at the event, one Belmont student in my group actually asked if the song he overheard playing (one of the finalists' songs) was Taylor Swift - these kids are creative, they are talented beyond what they may know, and they have abilities that need to be recognized. Family Literacy Day and the Poetry Contest give them the chance to shine.

I also know for a fact that I was not the only one brought to tears by the winning song, "A Trip to Heaven," by Andrew Dakin, who, coincidentally, happens to be one of the politest kids I've ever met. If you want to know what you are supporting by coming to Family Literacy Day or even by simply voting in the Poetry Contest, I hope you saw Andrew's face when they announced that he got first place - it was the look of pure surprise and excitement and joy all mixed into one. As he made his way up to the front to receive his award, it was evident that he was trying really hard not to just race up there in his excitement. Even after going back to his family, he was still in shock that he had won. The sweet humility he demonstrated was incredible.

I also heard another heartwarming story that happened while the door prizes were being called out. In one reading group, a little girl was so excited at the chance to win a book. When number after number was called, and none of them were hers, she began to be disappointed and discouraged. Then the number of a young boy who had been at the same reading circle was called, and he made his way to the front to pick out a book. He did so quickly, and when he returned to his group, he kindly handed the book he had chosen to the little girl, who was ecstatic at this unexpected gift.

We may volunteer at events like this with the intention to show love to and set a good example for these kids. And this we do. We are changing lives! But we can also gain something ourselves. There is so much that we, as adults, could learn from these kids: creativity, humility, and generosity being just three of the many things these children have to offer.