Yesterday, as part of the Everybody Wins! DC Power Lunch Program, I had the distinct privilege and tremendous pleasure of reading Platt and Munk's "The Little Engine That Could" to students at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School.
Everybody Wins! began in 1991 with just five volunteers reading on their lunch hours in one school. Since then, it has grown into a national public-private partnership that provides structured, one-on-one mentoring to low-income youth in 16 states and Washington, DC.
Look, reading is a hugely important skill that many of us take for granted. But when reading is a challenge, nearly every aspect of life becomes a challenge. You can't read signs. You can't read forms. You can't read news.
In my 13 years as a mentor with Everybody Wins! I saw firsthand the difference that reading aloud with children can make in their struggle to learn to read on their own. Many of you who have read to your children know what I'm talking about.
But not every child has a parent with the time or literacy skills to read aloud.
It's as easy as giving up a lunch hour. And the difference it can make is immeasurable.
I'm particularly proud to say that 23 of our Department of Transportation professionals volunteer regularly in the DC area with Everybody Wins! and some of them joined me yesterday. I can't thank them enough for their dedication to the Everybody Wins! kids.
But 23 is not enough. So, while I’d love to see what we can start among all of this blog's readers, I have a special message for DOT readers--23 is great, but we can do better!
To everyone at Amidon-Bowen Elementary, thank you so much for your company and participation at yesterday's Power Lunch reading session. And please remember the words of that little blue engine we read about: "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can."