For those who are unfamiliar with the Literacy Lab Committee, we partner with the non-profit organization, The Literacy Lab, to assist with an early childhood literacy program for young children in two DC area homeless shelters. The program is called Ready to Read and focuses on helping young children develop and practice early literacy skills. During a typical session, JLW volunteers spend time reading, writing, and playing educational games with the children. When the committee began in 2012, we worked with kids in the DC General homeless shelter on Saturday mornings. The program has since expanded and now the committee provides volunteers for Wednesday evening sessions at DC General as well as Saturday morning sessions at the New Beginnings shelter in Columbia Heights.
Our December holiday party gave the committee members and the children an opportunity to celebrate the season and participate in activities that we don't do during our regular weekly sessions. The most active part of the evening involved three craft projects. With the help of JLW volunteers, each child had the opportunity to make and decorate a snowman bookmark, frost a gingerbread man cookie and make a holiday card for their family. When the crafts were done, we read a holiday story and sang a few rounds of Christmas carols. Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells were particular favorites. At the end of the party, each child had an opportunity to pick out books of their very own to take home with them.
The entire evening was gratifying and fun, and it was great to watch the kids carefully pick out their books and make their crafts. We're all looking forward to the next holiday event in February!