In Spring 2018, I began My Story, a literacy group designed to empower underserved children and adolescents in the Atlanta area.

Children face a variety of obstacles in the most formative years of their lives, and the way they deal with these obstacles comes to shape who they are as a person. At this literacy program, children were taught that ultimately, they are the ones who write the stories of their lives. Through reading, students were encouraged to think about how various stories and characters relate to their personal lives, and how to use that understanding in making their own choices. Most of our work was done with students from low-income backgrounds.

To make this program come to life, I had to email, coordinate, and communicate with a variety of people. I developed and implemented the curriculum for three different ages of students: first grade, third grade, and middle school. I led service trips to Drew Charter School and Barack and Michelle Obama Academy, where I directed readings, lessons plans, and discussion activities each week. I regularly asked for student feedback and constantly reshaped the program to fit their needs and interests.

Example Activities:

  • If you were a demigod in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which Greek god/goddess would be your parent? Design a god, describe them, and explain what you inherited from them.
  • The characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory do some actions that demonstrate their character. Draw a picture and tell a story about when your actions demonstrated your character. 
  • Acting out characters/assigning roles in graphic novels
  • Act out a court case against the puppy thief in the story. What is the evidence for and against his guilt?
  • Discussions on relevant themes (sometimes with the help of Kahoot)