Spreading a love of reading along with an apple a day.
Have you heard the phrase: Ask a busy person if you want to get the job done? Pam Sue-Taylor, of Sonstraal Heights, Durbanville, lives up to that maxim as an executive assistant at a local media and television production company, Okuhle International. But, Pam has always had a passion to uplift and empower the community so she also runs an NPO called called Awehness Foundation, which focuses on spreading the love of books by reading to groups in local libraries, with two trustees – twins Peter and John Talmarkes of Bonteheuwel, better known locally as the PJ Twins. They were the runners-up on SA’s Got Talent in 2012.
“I began reading classes at the Bonteheuwel Library in September 2017 with about eight children and the class grew steadily. Now 16 children attend each week. It has been a real challenge meeting the children at their level of need. With ages ranging from six to 12, it can be a juggle. But it is such a worthwhile experience, as they all love listening to stories, reading and looking at the pictures. Each Saturday morning, we have a drink and snack and then we get to work. It really warms my heart to see how the children sit so eagerly to listen to the stories and ask questions. I have seen them make such progress, even in finding the confidence to read out loud to the rest of the class,” she says adding: “I was delighted when some children requested to do drama. Drama is such a powerful medium in creating space for children to make sense of their world. Practically, this posed a problem however, as our small study room at the library just couldn’t accommodate this idea. In April 2018, we approached the Bonteheuwel Thusong Centre (Multi-Purpose Centre) and asked if they had space for me to do reading and drama classes. They happily offered us their Learning Centre to use every Saturday morning.”
“And we don’t stop with reading and drama”, she says, “When there is some spare time, we also play a little soccer in the courtyard. It’s so rewarding being a part of their lives in creative ways. A Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre trip is planned for Saturday, November 10. I am constantly amazed at how my personal passion is having a positive effect on the community and, what started as a little class, has now grown into a vibrant extra-mural activity. I trust that this safe space to learn, have fun and explore will add exponential value to the lives of these children and their families,” she ends.
Sue-Taylor approached Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing for a donation of apples as a healthy snack for the children during their “Reading in Colour” storytelling sessions between October 1 and October 5 this year. “We visited 10 libraries, two a day, and reached between 80 and 120 children at each venue,” she says. We visited libraries in Woodstock, Valhalla, Kensington, Bridgetown, Heideveld, Manenberg, Hanover Park, Adriaanse Park in Elsies River and the Delft South Library.”
Tru-Cape’s Marketing Director Conrad Fick says the company is always happy to support community educational projects and was impressed by Pam Sue-Taylor’s passion and commitment. “We already know that a Tru-Cape apple a day keeps the doctor away but now we also hope that these children will develop into healthy adults with a love for reading and learning based on these experiences.”