Today, I was an adult. I got up early (even for me). I wore professional business wear (not jeans). I wore heels for more than 9 hours. I paid for parking, in downtown. I held meetings. I followed up.
And I spoke in front of 250-odd people on the reason why I work with Team Read.
Here is the text of my speech. I flubbed it in a couple of spots, but the sentiment is there. If you can, give: http://www.teamread.org.
Good morning. Thank you all for coming to our Annual Fundraising Breakfast. I know it takes some effort to get up and presentable and into downtown at 7:30am, so well done all of us.
Being, as I am, a technologically minded person, and surrounded, as I am often, with technologically minded people, who all agree on the importance of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – in education, it may have been a surprise to some of my friends and family that I chose to invest in, and support, Team Read. After all, this is about reading, right?
Right. Step one, in a long list of steps to a robust and complete education. Without reading, and specifically without quick and thorough reading comprehension, no student will survive that hallmark of third grade math: the word problem. We all remember – a train leaves Chicago going 40 miles per hour, and so forth? Only now they’re multi-step problems in third grade, like this one:
Ashley is 61 inches tall. Adam is five feet four inches tall. How many inches taller is Adam?
So we help students improve their reading fluency and comprehension, paving the way to use reading as a tool for all and any disciplines they need to pursue through the course of their educational careers.
That is only half of the story though, and only half of why I support Team Read.
About two breakfasts ago – I measure these things in food – Kiarra Thomas, a Team Read tutor, spoke here about her experience being a tutor. She talked about how she learned very real job skills – dealing with her charge, budgeting time, being responsible for this student. She spoke about how these skills and this experience helped form her educational and career path, and how it helped her get other jobs. Too often we are given to looking at our teenagers as “just teenagers” – oh, those kids – whereas Team Read provides, to qualified and eager teenagers, a real job, with real experience, and real impact. These teenagers are equal to the task.
And that’s why I am here today. And that’s why you are here today, too.
Team Read relies on the support of volunteers and donors, and I want to thank you for being here this morning, and learning about the good work of Team Read, and sharing your enthusiasm for this organization with others.
So thank you.