Share a Story is a student-run non-profit organization at McMaster that aims to increase equitable access to literacy within the Hamilton community. The main way that we do this is by running literacy programs to increase reading proficiency among Hamilton youth from the ages of 5-18. The motivation of our programs are to create a safe environment for students to develop and explore their passion for reading. Here, we provide literacy support to students through a variety of free virtual programs facilitated by our community of passionate volunteers.
Following a successful Fall 2021 semester, Share A Story is also expanding our goals during the Winter of 2022 to increase our advocacy efforts by collaborating with charities that aim to increase access to literacy for children across the world, by building scholarships for students in our reading programs, and creating initiatives that combat social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic using literacy.
We’re planning on recruiting volunteers and youth to participate in our reading programs for the Winter 2022 semester over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for updates here and on our social media!
In our first semester, Share A Story ran three programs that were tailored directly to children within the Hamilton community:
Reading Buddies – this program engaged with children who were new to reading and were dealing with difficulties in developing skills such as pronunciation and comprehension, or children who were interested in engaging with reading at an early age, guided one-on-one by their volunteers.
BookClubs (Junior and Senior) – our Junior and Senior Book Clubs acted as after-school programs for children at a middle school reading level. Our dedicated volunteers engaged with these children weekly to explore important books with literary themes that had important contexts to the outside world and to the greater community.
Funding: our Fall 2021 Reading Programs were supported by a #RisingYouth Grant from TakingITGlobal, an amazing organization that funds youth-directed initiatives. Thank you for making our ideas possible! Check them out here: https://www.tigweb.org/
Below is a letter to one of our program participants from a committed volunteer in our Reading Buddies program for the Fall 2021 session. We hope that our literacy programs act as much of a learning experience to our volunteers as they do the youth that work with them over the semester.
Thank you for being such a great student over the past months. I want to congratulate you on being able to chat more with me and really break out of your bubble when we were reading. In the first few sessions you were very quiet, however over the course of SAS Literacy, you were able to express your ideas and thoughts more on what we were reading, which was truly amazing!
I am so thankful that I got the chance to meet you and spend some time chatting about The Next Great Paulie Fink. I hope you can leave these sessions remembering the connections you made to the book and the things you learned along the way. Again, thank you for being such a wonderful student! I hope we can read together again sometime, however until then, find a book that you love and keep reading as much as you can ☺