Is there nothing that recalibrates the soul faster than a visit to an elementary school classroom? I don’t think so.
I diverted my trip into the office recently to oversee the media we’d arranged to come out to a summer school session at Waltersville Elementary School
in Bridgeport, Conn. Pitney Bowes
has been long committed to bringing reading and young children together through its Share the Message: READ! Program
. This summer it made a commitment to bring the program to more than 1,200 Bridgeport summer school students. When I arrived, I saw happy, little sponges. The children naturally emit the 3 E’s: energy, enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn - and it’s infectious. It brings you right back
to what’s important.
I joined up with the group of volunteers from Pitney Bowes who were among those on hand to read to the K-3rd
graders, oversee arts& crafts related to those readings, and dispense a new book to each child. The program is a global partnership between Pitney Bowes and Reading is Fundamental. Its mission is to expose children to the wonders of reading by bringing dynamic experiences like this to students who are eager to learn.
As we organized before meeting the children, Dr. Ralph Paladino, serving as principal for Waltersville’s summer session, shared with all of the Pitney Bowes volunteers on hand, how he felt about the early morning descent by our group on his school on a 103 degree “Real Feel” day. “It feels very good to have Pitney Bowes come out and make this effort to do something meaningful for the kids during the summer session. So often, anything special happens during the regular school year. It’s nice to be remembered. We all really appreciate it.”
Our pleasure, Principal Paladino
In the first classroom, a set of eager third graders stretched their arms up as high as they possibly could in hopes the visiting reader would call on them. Again, I looked upon the unscripted moment and it warmed my heart to see their unbridled enthusiasm and triggered fond memories of my own school days a thousand years ago.
For a few hours, the volunteers helped moved the “magic of reading” needle a little bit forward for the kids who participated. For all of the seasoned office-based employees, usually caught up in a maze of conference calls, strategy meetings, and Outlook calendars like myself, it was big change of pace. Putting down the blackberry and picking up a picture book, was something I don’t get to do every day.
I drove away a short time later with the image of happy faces fresh in my mind. I called my daughter en route back to work who only recently began her first office job after graduating college. I shared with her where I’d been and what I’d done. She was jealous. “You have the best job!” she told me.
Two perks of my job:
1) The opportunity to be a part of volunteer programs like Share the/Message: READ!
2) The opportunity to step away from the day-to-day and have the chance to keep it real.