Miami Book Fair
A volunteering interview by: Jessica Lindner
I volunteered for a book fair in Miami. We started very early in the morning setting up the tents and the displays. After everything was set up and the event started I helped at the entrance handing out flyers and directing people to the different areas. Once the book fair was in full swing I was moved to the information tent where people could come to find out about the different shows and activities going on throughout the day. My favorite area I was moved to was the games and art tent. There is where we had different tables set up for different reading levels. The activities changed by a fifteen to thirty minute time period. Some activities were making puppets from a story, creating your own story book, Letter Bingo and other art projects. My favorite activity was creating your own story book. It was very interesting and inspiring to see young kids develop onto paper what they had in their imaginations. I remember helping one boy who cut his book into the shape of a house. Inside he made each page have different items you would find in a house represented by a number and color, for example: There are 4 brown chairs. When I asked where his idea came from he said, “I want to teach my new baby brother colors and numbers!” That one child alone made the experience worth it, though there were many others. All in all, I felt I accomplished in what I came to do as a volunteer.
The reason why I volunteered is because I wanted to do something to give back to the community, but also see first-hand the people’s lives who I was affecting. By using volunteers to run the book fair we were able to offer below cover price pricing and in some cases were able to donate books to needy families. I think reading is very important and that these days enough books aren’t being read. With all of today’s technology people are so much more into video games and social networking than picking up a book. My son is really the one who inspired me. I noticed that he was way more into video games then education. At his age I would take pride in reading. I remembered getting a book for my birthday and reading it in one night and how immersed I got. Not only was I entertained but I was making myself a little smarter. I wanted my son to enjoy reading the same. After volunteering and having my son come to the book fair he found a little more interest in it. He still loves his video games but will now pick up a book and enjoy it instead of being forced. I hope that I helped other people find the joy in a book as well. Reading not only opens your mind to new things but also helps with concentration. This volunteering experience not only enriched other people’s lives but mine as well. I would definitely volunteer again for a book fair again if the opportunity arose again.
The Aha! moment…
This experience was very rewarding in so many different learning ways. I can go on and on about the different things I learned but will focus on the most important. The biggest thing I took away from this experience was on how to make reading more interesting to my own children. Even though I was running the activity tent, I saw how having a game or art project to do after the story made them more interested in reading the book first. I also learned that by just giving someone a little bit of your time, you can make a big difference in the long run. Had that little boy who made the book not come to that tent, he may never of realized how creative he was and how much he wanted to help teach his little brother. Volunteering made me feel like I contributed something to the world without expecting anything in return. Even though I didn’t techniquely get anything in return of monetary value, what I got back in experience was worth more than any dollar amount per hour. That’s the funny thing about volunteering. You expect to go help someone else or do for someone else but in the long run you are the one who makes out. The knowledge and joy I got from volunteering far out-weighed the time I had to give up. The experience and knowledge will stay with me a lifetime and now I can continue to show what I learned to friends and family.
To summarize it in three words…
rewarding, interesting, and powerful
Why should you do this
I would recommend volunteering to other people because it is so rewarding. Even if you’re not passionate about reading, you might just be surprised on how you feel afterward.