CEA Student Program (CEASP) members aren’t waiting around until they have classrooms of their own — they’re eager for any opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives. One such opportunity brought four CEASP members to Rhode Island last weekend, where they were able to reach out to 700-800 children during a statewide NEA Read Across America event.
The event, held at the Warwick Mall, featured guest readers, including former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan and her husband, Clay Pell, a candidate for governor of Rhode Island. The event also included free books for families, plus raffles, and giveaways.
The CEASP members read to the children and families and also ran a table where kids created their own Cat in the Hat hats. 2012-13 CEASP Chair Emily Oaks said that for the entire day, wherever you went throughout the mall, you could see children wearing their iconic red and white hats.
Oaks called the Read Across America day, “a great success.” By holding the event in a public space where many families were already spending their Saturday, the educators were able to reach children and families they might not have otherwise.
“The families and children really enjoyed it,” said Oaks. “They were excited to see us, and we were able to reach out and spread the joy of reading and with them.”
In previous years, CEASP members have volunteered at NEA’s Read Across America events in New York City, but when NEA decided not to hold that event this year, Oaks was eager to find another way to spread the joy of reading. Since NEA Rhode Island doesn’t have a Student Program, CEASP members were able to jump in and assist.