Elmo, Dora and Me

04-25-2012 3:10 PM

Virginia Hock works as a coordinator for the corporate communications group at Mary KayToday’s blog post is from Virginia Hock. Virginia works as a coordinator for the corporate communications group at Mary Kay. Virginia is an advocate for children’s literacy and shares a recent experience as a volunteer.

4-year-old kids. 25 of them. 1 of me. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but...

When I was in college, I worked on and off as a nanny. (In between studying and being a devout Razorback fan. Woo pig sooie!)  As a nanny, I read every story ever made about Thomas, Dora, SpongeBob, Clifford and Elmo. Every. Single. One. Regardless of how many times I talked about a train, a big red dog or a new adventure, the kids loved it. They were developing a love of reading.  I truly believe that a love for reading turns into a love for learning. 

Last week, I had a chance to read to a group of pre-K students at Avance. Avance is an organization that works to strengthen families in at-risk communities through effective education and support programs for parents and kids. One of Avance’s programs involves literacy education for children. 

As soon as I walked into the classroom I could feel the excitement and energy. Those kids were eager to hear whatever story that was contained in the pages of the book I had in my hands. It was almost like the kids saw this book as a special gift. They could not wait to hear the story.  I’ve been an active volunteer in various literacy programs for many years, but I’ve never seen this type of excitement.  And to be honest, my excitement level was just as high as the kids. So much so, that when I finished the first book I asked the teacher if I could read another book to the kids. 

As I listened to the kids talk about the book I read to them, I imagined what it must be like for a child who struggles with communication and reading.  Basic skills that we take for granted.  Think about how many emails you have read and drafted today. About the book you read before bed last night. The signs you read on the highway on your way to work.  Reading is a functional part of everyday life. A simple skill but a skill that must be learned. Children’s literacy is an issue I hold close to my heart.  I am committed to helping children learn to read.

Even though Global Month of Service is over, we can all remain committed to helping others. Is there a specific cause or organization that is close to your heart? If so, are you committed to it?

 Virginia Hock reading to students | Mary Kay