Lindsay Nickell, Reading Curriculum Coordinator
As Reading Curriculum Coordinator at Project Transformation, I get the privilege of traveling to all of our after-school program sites on a weekly basis. While this can sometimes get hectic, I enjoy the ability to see the amazing and unique things that happen at each of the seven site locations. One of these amazing things happened just a few weeks ago when Shelly Slater, from WFAA Channel 8 News in Dallas, decided to do a feature on Project Transformation (with a special emphasis on the Reading Program!). I spent an afternoon with the interns and children at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church as Shelly and her camera crew followed us around and recorded a typical day at our program site. Although it was an exhausting day, I was completely honored to be a part of the experience!
If you are interested, you can visit our website and watch all of the Shelly’s Bookworms segments featuring Project Transformation!
I feel like many people would assume I was honored because I’m the Reading Coordinator and the Reading Program was being featured on the news. Well, that was definitely one of the reasons I was so touched by the experience, but I honestly had to hold back some tears as I watched children who were incredibly shy at the beginning of the school year read Dr. Seuss books aloud for the camera crew. I was proud to see a few of the children who at first were less than thrilled about reading get incredibly excited about telling the cameras why they love reading so much! Others became equally frustrated because they said that they loved so many books they could not possibly pick their favorite to say in front of the cameras. These were all incredibly sweet moments that I was able to witness!
These reading moments, though, were not what made me the most proud that day. I’ve been around Project Transformation for almost four years now and I cannot begin to count the number of times that I have heard about how much of an impact the college interns have on the children we serve. We may not see the results instantly, but transformation is occurring. As a returning intern, I’ve had to remind new interns on rough days that even though you may not see changes right now in the kids’ behavior, what you are teaching them will impact them somewhere down the road, maybe long after their days at Project Transformation are over.
That day at Chapel Hill with the news crew was so amazing because I actually got to see the results of so many things that we’ve taught the kids over the course of the past few months. One of my favorite examples of this was when one of our more disruptive students begged me to have a chance to read to the camera, and reluctantly, I allowed it. What I saw next was shocking! He walked into that room with the camera crew with so much maturity and on his best behavior. He introduced himself, shook hands with the camera man, and thanked them for taking their time to be at Chapel Hill. Before he left the room the camera crew asked him if he’d like to say anything to the Project Transformation interns on camera and, though I was worried what he might say, he shocked me once more by saying the sweetest things about the program, all of his interns, and ME. This happened repeatedly as child after child showed their gratitude for the interns and for the Reading Program. I was amazed and I didn’t want the day to end!
So whether you’re a teacher, a mentor, a parent, or a Project Transformation intern, you often don’t instantly see your influence and lessons immediately reflected in the children with whom you work, but sometimes, with some time, you do! And those moments are what make the hard work and effort all worth it!