Virtual Story Hour

One of the side projects I was tasked with in the past few months was to organize a virtual storytelling hour over Zoom in partnership with the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF). Considering it would take place online rather than on-site as had been done in the past, we decided to invite all households from five of our properties. In total, there were over 120 elementary-aged kids welcomed to attend and I spent a few weeks coordinating with both CLiF and our partners managing each property to set the date for the event and advertise to residents.

I was hopeful for a good turnout. However, when I joined the Zoom session, I was disappointed to see only a handful of families in attendance. I immediately felt embarrassed and largely responsible for the low numbers. Yet there was one eleven-year old girl on the call, who turned on her microphone to share with the presenter how much she loved to read and how excited she was for his presentation. Over the next half hour, the girl was glued to the screen and spent the entire time mimicking the presenter’s every move during the interactive sections of the story, sporting a smile from start to finish. Her enjoyment was infectious and clearly had an effect with the rest of those listening as everyone soon began to follow along enthusiastically.

I’ve heard many people in different fields say that if their service efforts can have a positive impact on just one person they consider it to be a success. For a while, I never subscribed to that belief - wouldn’t you want to shoot higher than that? But watching this girl and seeing how thrilled she was to participate made me rethink things. Of course, I wasn’t the one actually presenting the story that day over Zoom, but the time I put into organizing the event all felt worth it just by brightening just one girl’s day and motivates me to do the same for many others over the remainder of my service year.