In the 1990’s, my beloved grandmother Elizabeth Taylor (not the one of Hollywood fame) was a SMART volunteer in Eugene. That was one of the biggest highlights of her last remaining years. She was a retired school teacher so I think that in a small way, it brought her back to what she loved most about teaching which was connecting with and inspiring kids.
She looked forward every week to reading with “her kids.” She was so proud of them – proud of the progress they made. She even displayed photos of a couple of “her kids” in her living room. She loved sharing stories about them with me. She would save little trinkets such as stickers and pencils and bookmarks as little rewards to give them each week.
I know that SMART is all about the kids but truthfully, I could see firsthand how SMART is also all about those who generously volunteer their time. I’m quite certain that my grandmother got as much out of her time with the kids as they did.
Somewhere out there I like to think that there are a few kids, now probably in their 20’s, who are good readers with a love of books because my grandmother took the time to simply sit down and read with them. I hope they remember my beautiful, gray-haired grandmother and the moments they shared together. I know she did.