22 February 2017

Volunteer to Party and Celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday!

Dr. Seuss is an American icon. He has inspired generations of learners to read. His words have been used to inspire, uplift, and create joy.

“Oh, the places you’ll go” is my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book. One of my most cherished memories as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Eastern Europe was our swearing in ceremony. After nearly 3 months of a grueling training program, I stood with my colleagues and swore an oath to serve our country by spreading peace and friendship. I had dreamed of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer since the 4th grade. And finally, on that humid and sweltering afternoon, there I was: raising my right hand and reflecting on how I’d been able to achieve one of my dreams. Next, the country director began to recite “Oh, the places you’ll go.”  I was amazed by how much wisdom was in this children’s book.

Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Tears welled in my eyes as I thought about what this journey may hold. On our last day as Peace Corps volunteers, I “rang the bell” with some of my best friends in a symbolic close of service tradition (and whoops, we broke the bell!). That evening I read this little gem one more time and looked back on those two years of service. Little did I know that a new adventure was just beginning.

Upon returning home, I was lucky to land my dream job as a Community School Director with United Way at South Kearns Elementary. Using a Collective Impact model, we are working for population level change in eliminating disparities in some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods. This means I work on coordinating different partnerships, aligning services, and using data to inform programming. As a United Way Community School, South Kearns Elementary is lucky to host volunteers for different events with students, parents, and teachers. Our next large volunteer event will be held in March.

Schools across the nation will be celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, a little known holiday called “Dr. Seuss Day.” Some schools fill the school day with Dr. Seuss themed activities for students while others cater to families and host their events in the evening. South Kearns Elementary will be hosting a family night with 8 different stations based on some of his best-known books. Activities will include playing with musical instruments, planting seeds, making playdough, photo booths, and story time.

Our teachers are excited about the event, but we’re looking for volunteers to help make this event as successful as possible. That’s where you come in!

Rosemary Mitchell is the Community School Director at South Kearns Elementary. United Way of Salt Lake currently has over 30 Community Schools across 6 promise neighborhoods throughout the valley. To support a Dr. Seuss day near you, sign up to volunteer here: http://seuss.uw.org/  

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