Thurston Woods Reading Buddies

The staff at Thurston Woods Elementary school in Milwaukee generously gave some of their very precious time to plan a reading buddy event with us in February. It is the first partnership we've had with MPS and they seriously were so helpful and collaborative with our big group.

Last summer, we recognized a desire to enter into a partnership with MPS in some way.  When thinking about volunteering in Milwaukee with young kids, MPS just seemed like it would be a good fit.  Staff at the district office worked with us to find a willing school. After we were matched with Thurston Woods, the principal met with several TOAM board members to formulate a plan that would work for everyone. The planning group decided a joint reading and volunteer project to benefit a Milwaukee non-profit would be a great idea for everyone.

We finally saw that plan come to fruition and we were happy with how it turned out! Our large and loud crowd showed up at the school this week and we were ushered to the library where we met up with fifteen third graders who had prepared with a teacher for our visit.

Together, we listened to a story about friendship. After that, we all found partners and then sat down to hear a story read by a Thurston Woods Student. As Lynn told the third graders, "Little kids like to hear stories read over over and over" and true to that, the students patiently reread the stories to our little ones.

After the stories, Nicole taught an art project to the group. While working together, it was beautiful to see and hear adults, third graders, and our little ones conversing, smiling, and showing care and patience towards each other. 

Later in the week, we delivered our finished project to the Clinton Rose Senior Center's cafeteria. Once again were warmly welcomed with smiles and waves.  I'm a relative newcomer to Milwaukee and these TOAM events consistently show me what a friendly city this place truly is. I'm so grateful for these volunteering experiences for my children and for myself.

We are excited to see our friends again in April!

-Jean

Co-director and Co-founder of TOAM