Women2Women - Fall 2017 - 20
a Summer Youth Reading Program
ver the summer, Women2Women inaugurated a Youth Reading Program as an
outgrowth of their annual Expo which
featured Katharine Johnson - one of four
African-American women depicted in the
book Hidden Figures, who served as one of the
NASA brains launching astronaut John Glenn
into orbit. "A generous community leader
provided a good portion of the funds, along
with dozens of donations, including one from
GRCEDC president & CEO Randy Peer's
12-year-old daughter, for Women2Women to
buy 700 Young Readers' Editions of Hidden
Figures. It really was a community effort!"
shared Chamber president Karen Marsdale.
Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition is the
true story of four brilliant women at NASA:
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary
Jackson and Christine Darden. The book
highlights their intelligence, sisterhood, and
perseverance, as well as the racial and gender
discrimination which affected their lives.
A committee of active Women2Women
volunteers reached out to contacts at organizations that have summer programs
throughout the City of Reading and Berks
County and distributed 700 books to the
Reading Public Libraries, Mentors for
Berks Youth, Norma De Hoyos Day Care,
Olivet Boys & Girls Club, Reading Public
Museum STEM camp, Reading Recreation
Commission, Salvation Army and YMCA.
Not only did the volunteers facilitate the
distribution but they took it one step further
by providing the organizations a fact sheet,
outline, discussion guide questions, social
media plan to promote their group's progress
and a survey for youth to participate.
Ted Tressler, Cpt., Corps Officer/Pastor -
The Salvation Army shared, "Our summer
day camp students have been immensely
blessed with the opportunity, made available
with help from the Chamber and W2W,
A VOLUNTEER'S PERSPECTIVE
By Vanessa Wanshop, Director, Volunteer Services, Reading Health System
had the privilege of working with two reading
groups, totaling 56 children, at the Salvation
Army this summer. We met over a period of 7
weeks, with me reading and the kids following
along. I found the older group - 4-6 graders
- were much more engaged, as this book was
written for their age range.
Because it was a chapter book, it was suggested
that I create a power point presentation with
photos depicting some of the things mentioned
in the book. I took this task to heart and created
a power point with about 130 slides, including
some photos of things not included in the book:
The first African-American man and woman
to become astronauts, and the first AfricanAmerican man and woman to go to space, and
the first African-American woman to run for
20 Women2Women Fall 2017
president (1972, Shirley Chisholm - also the
first African-American woman in congress).
This presentation gives more life to the words
of the book, and helped them stay engaged.
The most remarkable thing about this reading
program was the conversation the book prompted.
Often we would go off-topic to discuss something
brought up in the book, such as air raids and
nuclear war, the fact that even today women
are not paid equally with men in the same job,
and of course, the ever present segregation. Each
week it was asked over and over, why was it this
way? There were questions I could not answer.
Some existential, and others I challenged them
to find out by the next week and share with the
group. In the end, I have no doubt that I learned
almost as much as they did! n