If you can get children excited about reading, you can also attract their parents. That was Literacy Volunteers’ adult student recruitment strategy in the 90s when it started the after-school program at Park Woods Transitional Housing, part of the Capehart housing community.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, volunteers and kids read together from books chosen by the kids, many supplied by the Bangor Public Library. Bagel Central provided snacks.
Volunteers would help with homework as well, and the children really enjoyed the program, Coordinator Barbara Kates remembered. One child in particular stood out. He was a loner with emotional difficulties who was sometimes called “the screamer.” Yet he played chess with a volunteer quietly and happily.
Volunteers worked with families to create a community garden and organized other community activities that incorporated reading and writing.
Book clubs called “New Beginnings” and “SOAR—Students of Adult Reading” flourished in the 1980s and 90s. The Bangor Public Library often hosted. The groups also enjoyed occasional community meals and other events.