I’m retired and spend most of my days attending enrichment classes at UH, or at various workshops learning and practicing new skills like sewing, knitting, painting and odd crafts! On outdoor days I love jogging, hiking and joining friends on boat rides to the Sandbar. I have a wonderful life here in Hawaii and volunteering with OHANA 100 is part of that happiness.
My second career was as a part time language arts and EL teacher with DOE . After 15 years of teaching children in K-3 I retired. My love for working with children led me to a few volunteer opportunities. After a year of trying out different programs I settled on OHANA100 and it is the perfect fit.
I believe I am a very lucky person and feel compelled to share this with others and where there is a need. So driving to various Oahu schools and Head Start programs around the island to read to as many children as possible is my priority. I am lucky enough to read to more than 140 children in a month at various locations and it is a wonderful experience.
My favorite part of volunteering is interacting with the children and getting to know them better with each visit. I’m always in awe of how quickly they mature and learn from one visit to the next. I love seeing the stories reflected on the children’s cute faces. As I read to them I see everything: surprise, amazement, sadness, recognition, joy and curiosity. Afterward, when we talk about the stories I hear the empathy and kindness, the excitement and imagination, and the wonder they experience while hearing me read to them.
Of all the books I have read in the last three months my favorite has been Bill Thomson's Chalk which is ironic because of course it has no words! Between the beautiful pictures and the children’s imagination we craft the story together and it never fails to bring about squeals of glee and expressions of delight. Many have wished for magic chalk after we finish the story.
My listeners’ favorite story to date and a close second to Chalk is It Came In The Mail by Ben Clanton. Using a dragon hand puppet and sometimes a toy mailbox made of felt, I read about wishes, letter writing and generosity. The kids love to “talk” to Danny the Dragon (puppet) about the story and share with him what they would ask for from a magic mailbox.
I’m very pleased with OHANA100s outreach and presence in Oahu as it has allowed me to share my joy with children in all “corners” of the island. One of my favorite parts of doing this is walking into each class and hearing the children cheer with delight , “Auntie Pat is here!!”
Clearly, I love doing this and the children love hearing stories.