Aloha! My name is Sheena Carmela Juliano and I'm majoring in Elementary Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Wanna hear my story? Once upon a time, I needed to make 100 community service hours for a Manoa Service Award scholarship I received. The problem was the hours only counted for what I do in Hawai'i, and I only had a month left before I was leaving to study abroad in London. How was I going to find an organization that would help me achieve those hours while having fun at the same time? Luckily, Ohana100 saved the day.
Joining Ohana100 has truthfully felt like being a part of another Ohana. All those times I've spent with Liz and her daughter Catherine driving around the island of O'ahu to read to different schools has really helped me be more comfortable (and eager!) in becoming an elementary teacher one day. I never would have expected to read to over 100 children in just a week, but it's just become so addicting to want to read to more and more kids. There were days where I would read the same "Frozen" storybook to over 5 different classrooms or head start programs in a day, and seeing the smiles from the kids enjoying me being there to read to them made it worth it each time. Connecting and interacting with the kids that way through a good book is what really mattered to me. To me, a good story is one that takes the reader on an adventure in the most imaginative way. And Ohana100 has really helped me lead the children on an adventure with every visit.
My favorite part of my visits is the faces the kids make when I say "I've got a surprise for you...you get to take home your very own book today!" They get so excited to take it home and show it off, it's the most adorable thing in the world.
I'll definitely miss volunteering with Ohana100 while I'm away. I have had so many good reads all over the island: Kunia, Waianae, Kaneohe, Kalihi, Ewa, --it goes on. So really, thank you so much Liz for this amazing opportunity. You have really encouraged me to want to do more for my community with this legacy you have created here. I mean, who else gives away free books for kids to read? You're really the best for doing this because you believe in the power of reading. I'm really glad I had the honor of volunteering with you because I honestly feel like I would have missed out if I hadn't found out about Ohana100. Thank you for helping make the most of my last month here before my semester abroad, and I will definitely be back to read some more when I return! ~
This is only the beginning, Sheena Juliano