“I used to think of Monday’s as my payback day but now I look forward to it as one of the best days of the week.”
Paul has been volunteering with Doorstep Library for a few years now after finding out about the charity through word of mouth. Wanting to make a difference and give young people the best opportunity to fulfil their potential through Literacy. Being enormously privileged in his own life, Paul wanted to give something back to people who lived in different circumstances.
Now in the same room where some volunteers had been reading stories with children for years, Paul could see there was no doubt of the joys of visiting families at home each week to share their love of books. Being fairly new to the role at the time, Paul had been struck by the wonderful mix of volunteers. All united by a passion for the written word and storytelling but in other ways, all were very different.
Some volunteers are parents, others are grandparents, others have no children of their own. Some have day jobs in fancy international companies’ others spend their day looking after their own family. And some work for themselves. But storytelling and a love of books and reading brings them together every Monday afternoon – rain, hail or shine. “The best day of my week are Mondays.”
Regardless of the weather, Paul’s families are always happy to welcome him and his partner into their homes. Initially strangers to them, over the weeks and months they have gotten to know them and share in their family festivities and anniversaries. They see their children enjoy our books and look forward to their visits. Many of their families are from different cultures. Volunteers like Paul might not normally have the chance to meet them, let alone share their homes and learn about their interests. But as fellow volunteer Jane said, “We also look forward to meeting them and catching up on their news.”
In Paul’s own words, “It is such a privilege and a pleasure to be with them in an intimate setting. We might be a different colour or speak different languages. But what strikes me is how similar our ambitions are. We want our children to discover their potential and have the chance to be able to benefit from it. Literacy can do that. No wonder Doorstep Library’s tag line is ‘Words take you places.’”
“Words also take us, volunteers, to places we would not otherwise go. Although I am unpaid I feel richly rewarded in so many other ways and would encourage others to join us on the journey.”