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American Today


In the Community

Young, Ravenous Readers Converge on AU for Stories, Snacks  

By Adrienne Frank

Damonte, 6, was among 40 Washington youngsters who flocked to campus, April 24, for an afternoon of reading. (Photo: Adrienne Frank)

 “What’s the easiest way to travel around the world without spending any money?” asked local author Robyn Ringgold of the 40 youngsters gathered at her feet. “Read a book!”

On April 24, AU’s Community Service Center hosted several dozen kids from five Washington area schools and nonprofits for an afternoon of stories and snacks. The children and AU tutors are all part of the D.C. Reads program, which aims to improve reading proficiency by pairing elementary schoolers with college-aged tutors.

This year, 141 AU students volunteered several hours a week at seven sites across the city for D.C. Reads. Many of them attended the April 24 story afternoon with their young charges, who could be spotted by their matching yellow D.C. Reads T-shirts.

During their afternoon on campus, the kids enjoyed hearing Ringgold’s My Mom Hugs Trees, and each child received a signed copy of the book. They also enjoyed dinner in TDR and took a campus walking tour with their AU tutors.

It was “important to bring these [youngsters] to campus, to share their lives and motivate the kids to go to college,” said Marcy Fink Campos, director of the Community Service Center.

The afternoon also included a reception honoring the D.C. Reads tutors, several of whom have volunteered with the organization for all four years of college.