By Emily Bialkowski
Jennifer Waldenberger believes literacy is essential to building a community of learners, thinkers and citizens. The college instructor has a master’s degree in English and is spearheading the Caledonia Lions’ new literacy project, a three-fold effort to inspire youth to develop and improve communication skills.
“It is important for a student to master basic skills, such as the ability to effectively communicate through the oral and written word, to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive job market,” Waldenberger said.
To that extent, the Lions keyed into three project avenues.
First, the group collected a myriad of school supplies and donated them to Caledonia Public Schools. The mass of notebooks, crayons, pencils, glue and more will be put into the hands of students whose families might otherwise have trouble affording such tools.
Second, the Lions have set up a literacy event with the Caledonia Public Library, in which the public is invited to drop off new or gently used books for children and adults of all ages and income levels to enjoy.
The big collection day is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. The library has requested that all books donated have a publication date no older than one year old. Monetary donations for the purchase of new books will also be accepted during that time.
Third, students who are in need of tutoring can sign up for the Lions Literacy Project Tutoring Services at the literacy event or by emailing Waldenberger, project chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students in need of the service should include their name, email address, telephone number and subject(s) in which they need help.
Tutoring will begin after the Oct. 5 collection event and will take place either at the library or school after a list of students in need of the service has been established.
Local educators, retired and those currently teaching, have been contacted to see if they will offer their expertise in tutoring. The local chapter of the National Honor Society has also expressed a desire to help.
“I hope to recruit enough volunteers for this cause so that we may serve the needs of our students,” Waldenberger said. “A student’s experiences with literacy and communication helps prepare them to make significant contributions to the community.”
Waldenberger said she felt a personal connection to project from the start. “I knew this was something I wanted our Lions Club to take on and that I would be proud to volunteer to be the project chair — to organize and see this project through.”
Be sure to help, too, by donating a gently used book on Oct. 5, or offer help by emailing Waldenberger.
Caledonia Lions Literacy Event
Who: Caledonia Lions
What: Book collection
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5
Where: Caledonia Public Library