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Emily Kumpel

Joined: Feb 13, 2001
Posts: 8 (view all)
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Gender & Age: Female & 36
Country: United States
Province/State: California
City: Berkeley
books and computers and breakdancing
Aug 21, 2001

Today was a really great day. Projects are coming together smoother than I expected and new ideas are flying around - possibilities upon possibilites that make me step back and ask myself why i'm so lucky.

I started out by visiting my local Barnes and Nobles Bookstore's community relations manager - a very nice, sincere woman. I'd recieved a $500 grant from the Do Something Foundation to start a literact project in the Lawrence Girls' Club. Lawrence is a nearby immigrant city, which, while not well off economically, has incredible richness in it's diversity and culture. Having volunteers at the Girls' Club in the past, I saw that they were in need of books and many girls just needed a little encouragement to start reading. I've been putting together 'literacy kits' for the club. I'm filled a bunch of canvas bags with themed books, puzzles, games, and activities. I've got everything from Polar Exploration to Math Games to Writing to Mysteries. For example, the 'animal' kit has 'The Rats of NIMH', a couple children's pictures books with animals stories, a 'learn to draw animals' book, 'how the rhinocerous got its skin' on tape with a matching book, and some little games. I'll get a little stuffed animals too. We still haven't decided whether they're going to stay at the club or go on lend, like a little library. I'm having so much fun putting them together!

Anyway, Barnes and Nobles agreed to give me a discount on books I bought there for the project, as well as donating some 'prize books' (for girls who read the most), a couple canvas bags, and people to come read stories. Then I headed to Buck-A-Book - a really good store that has tons of really good children's books for pretty cheap - to buy more stuff. Last weekend, I spent a couple hours in there getting the core books. I can't tell you how much fun I had picking out all my favorite children's books and reading new ones! I love kids' books. I've also ordered books through the Scholastic Book Club, as they're discounted there as well.

I'm very pleased, because so far I have about 200 books and I've only spent about $300. Plus, I have more money from one of my sister's old charity projects which is not longer active. I think I'm going to buy a 'listening center' - tape/CD player with many headphones and stuff, so they can listen to books on tape and music and things like that.

Anyway, then I headed to the Lawrence Girls' and Boys' Club Computer Clubhouse - really great place! The technology in there for the kids is really amazing, as is the way they've all picked it up. They have eight year old making web pages and eleven and twelve year olds making still-frame movies with WWF figures. They have microscopes connected to the computers, a full digital music room, color laser printers... It's right in the middle of the projects, too, meaning it's in walking distance for most kids and a perfect, safe place for them to hang out. The people who work there are really great. Some classmates and I are going to be volunteering there in September. We're trying to set up a 'girls day' one afternoon to get more girls interested - there are very few girls that come to the clubhouse because they are intimidated. Even better: I have grant money from the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity to spend on them!

Anyway, things are looking very good, and I'm pumped up for more! Even if I'm extremely busy and madly trying to finish papers and books and proposals before I head to school.

I'd better get to sleep: have to be up in about 6 hours to be on a train to my friend Bi Na's house - I don't want to miss that!

Hey, if anyone has canvas bags they'd like to donate - preferably white or, even better, blank ones so the girls can decorate them, please email me! I'd be greatly appreciative.

Goodnight!

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Michael Furdyk

Joined: Nov 21, 2003
Posts: 307 (view all)
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Gender & Age: Male, 38
Country: Canada
Province/State: Ontario
City: Toronto
Wow.
Aug 22, 2001

This is awesome stuff Emily!

It's interesting to see how many opportunities there are out there for people to create change in their communities and improve the lives of so many with their efforts. If only more young people could realize just how "easy" this was, and how awesome the return was, that they'd all be motivated to do the same.

Soon! smile


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