Sometime in the late summer of 2016, I placed a call to a friend and fellow teacher in Fargo, ND. I explained the concept of Project Armchair; that we are certified teachers who read aloud to children in crisis, and her asked her if she knew of any teachers that might be interested in doing the same thing in Fargo. Coincidentally (or not), she was at that very moment sitting in a literacy conference with a roomful of colleagues. She asked around, and found several interested. Of that group, a wonderful and radiant teacher, named Deb Shasky, stepped forward to be the lead person for the Fargo area. None of this would have been possible without Deb’s passion and enthusiasm for reading to children in crisis.
And so it began.
Since that day last July, there have been a few bumps and hiccups to get a Fargo chapter launched, and the home chapter board of directors has spent many hours carefully considering how best to proceed. But it is with great joy that I share that we are well-ensconced in the Fargo Sanford Children’s Hospital. Volunteers and administrators seem passionate about the value of our presence there, and I know the Fargo chapter is in capable and talented hands. I want to thank Fargo’s volunteer team for the many hours they have invested in hospital training and meeting with me to get started. Deb Shasky, Nancy Frosaker, Morgan Pandolfo, are hard at work to fulfill all Sanford training requirements, raise funds to purchase books, and recruit fellow teachers so that there is volunteer reading to hospitalized children as often as possible.
I believe with my whole heart that great things are going to come of a Project Armchair presence in the city of Fargo. Sanford has a magnificent, shiny new hospital (pictured above), which just opened within the last two weeks. It is truly beautiful. And Project Armchair will be there to help lighten the load of suffering with the words and illustrations found in quality children’s literature, the comfort of a caring adult reading with enthusiasm, and the gifting of the book to remind the child over and over of those precious moments of reprieve. I have witnessed the power and magic of this very thing hundreds of times in the last two years.
If you would like to help the Fargo chapter achieve its goals of putting books into the hands of hospitalized children – and a hospital this size will go through books very quickly – please visit the wish list and donation tabs on this blog for more information.
Welcome to the Project Armchair family, Fargo!!
|Srategy planning with Nancy Frosaker and Morgan Pandolfo|