KAREN SCHARFENSTEIN

 am currently retired after working 48 years for the Federal, State and County governments.  I started as an accounting supervisor for the Federal government.  After 23 years of working for the Feds, I was appointed by two governors in the communications department doing news releases and media advisories and handling the governors’ public appearances.  After the governors’ terms ended, I moved over to the City and County of Honolulu, working for a couple of city council members as a legislative aide doing research and handling constituent affairs.  Twenty five years later after working for the state and City and County of Honolulu, I retired.  I enjoyed my interesting jobs and enjoyed going to work each day.

 

Reading is always something I have enjoyed.  For over 40 years, I started reading to my two girls often volunteering in their classrooms, reading to the students or helping tutor them.  I then read to my 17 year old grandson, reading the same books I had saved and read to my children.  Today I still read the same books to our Ohana 100 children.

Some of my favorite books are:  Tiki Tiki Tembo, Where the Wild Things Are, the Musubi Man, Being Thankful, Clifford books, Fox in Socks, Cat in Hat. Horton Hears a Who, 5 Chinese Brothers, Green Eggs and Ham, Chinaman’s Hat, books on dinosaurs and dolphins, Honu the Scared Turtle, and many more.  My children come from the Kuhio Park Terrace (4 classrooms plus a baby class), August Ahrens Headstart (2 classrooms), Waipahu Community Center (1 classroom) and Palolo Headstart (3 classrooms).  I will miss them as they move up to Kindergarten, but am excited to meet new students next year.

My most memorable experience is hearing the excited voices of children calling out their greeting to me as they see me pull into a parking space near their classroom and hearing them say – “it is reading time again!!!!!!.”  These children never cease to amaze me with their wide berth of imagination – so creative, so positive, so eager to learn.  They contribute to the story in ways I never imagined. They often think outside the box and add on to the story making it more interesting often times adding their own experiences to the story.  It is so gratifying to have them perk up and play act during story telling. 

I enjoy rereading all the old stories I have known my whole life.  Meeting new people and the Ohana100 people especially. All of you have made by life circle complete.  Ohana100 you feel like real family and I enjoy the activities you have planned and have done.  You are truly an inspiration to all of us. 

My most memorable experience is hearing the excited voices of children calling out their greeting to me as they see me pull into a parking space near their classroom and hearing them say – “it is reading time again!!!!!!.”  These children never cease to amaze me with their wide berth of imagination – so creative, so positive, so eager to learn.  They contribute to the story in ways I never imagined. They often think outside the box and add on to the story making it more interesting often times adding their own experiences to the story.  It is so gratifying to have them perk up and play act during story telling. 

I enjoy rereading all the old stories I have known my whole life.  Meeting new people and the Ohana100 people especially. All of you have made by life circle complete.  Ohana100 you feel like real family and I enjoy the activities you have planned and have done.  You are truly an inspiration to all of us.

Of course trying to make a difference in the critical years of a child’s life and being able to turn their lives around through reading and making a difference and trying to help them succeed in their future lives is my dream come true.  It feels like I have won a pot of gold with each child that I can convert to becoming a reader.  And, of course, those warm wonderful loving hugs which are so priceless and speak more than words.

Thank you, thank you Ohana 100 leaders for giving me this opportunity to read to children and for teaching and mentoring me.