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Service Highlight: Saturday Programming with Drake Community Library

Grace Morrison is the AmeriCorps VISTA member in the School Readiness Taskforce Coordinator position. This role has involved recruiting a taskforce of community partners to help design and implement projects to support Grinnell area students. One project that Grace has been involved with since last fall is Saturday programming run by Drake Community Library. This project had to be adapted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has involved much time and effort from Grace. Grace shared her thoughts about this project for AmeriCorps Week.

Share a little with us about your involvement with the Saturday Programming at DCL:

My fellow VISTA member Jill Harris and I have been collaborating with Karen Neal at Drake Community Library to be able to continue some Saturday programming virtually

while the library is at reduced capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in October of 2020, we have been doing a themed 30-minute virtual kids’ program every third Saturday of the month with special community guest hosts.

We also put together activity bags for each program, which are available for pick-up at the library the week before the program. The bags have crafts and activity suggestions that go along with that month’s theme.

Here, Emily Van Arkel hosts a Musical Storytime!

Why is this project important to the community? To you?

The library is a cornerstone of our community, so supporting them has been an honor. The work that they do means so much to many people. A lot of their normal services are reduced because of the pandemic, so being able to help continue Saturday programming is great. Even though kids can’t get together in person anymore, we can still provide a space virtually for them to enjoy educational activities and interact with other kids and adults!

This is the Saturday programming activity pack for the Musical Storytime - it included pictures, watercolors, finger puppets, and a harmonica.

What has been your favorite part of this project?

Being a part of a team with Jill Harris and Karen Neal is awesome! They both have served Grinnell for many years and have so many ideas for how to make education fun. Attending the programs is great, too. I love seeing what activities the community guests plan for the event and seeing kids have fun.

What is the best part of being an AmeriCorps member at GEP?

As an AmeriCorps member at GEP, I feel very encouraged to express myself and use my strengths to the benefit of others. I appreciate working with my fellow cohort members on projects, as well as working with passionate Grinnellians to brainstorm strategies to better our community.

If you are interested, you can access Saturday Storytime, as well as the variety of other children's programming that the library hosts, at this link. Your dedication to students in the Grinnell area is inspiring - thank you, Grace!


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