Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mary T., Avid Reader and Committee Member

Mary is a bright, unique fourth grader at Cesar Chavez elementary school. This ten-year-old’s favorite subjects are music, gym, and reading. Mary and her three siblings, who are ages four, six, and twelve, celebrate diversity in their family. Her mom, now a social worker, is originally from Africa. Mary’s step-father, who is from Guatemala, is an auto technician in Grand Rapids.

Mary started coming to the Cook Library Center two years ago when she was in second grade. She thoroughly enjoys the myriad of activities offered here, including creative art activities and classes that expand her understanding of science. One of her favorite things about the Library is the field trips. She fondly recalls going to Calvin College for trick-or-treating in the dorms for Halloween.

Mary is also involved with the Cook Library Center D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) Group. In addition to the normal quilt-making activities that the students partake in leading up to Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities’ annual fundraiser, Día del Sol, this special children’s committee has been planning and creating additional items to auction off at the big event. As an integral part of this committee, Mary is responsible for making important decisions about what crafts to make and how to make them. Then, she and the rest of the committee bring their ideas to life.

One part of the craft required a field trip to Richmond Stamp Works in downtown Grand Rapids, where Mary and her team met owner and creative genius, Paul Newhof. While there, Paul showed them his unique work space and also the process of making rubber stamps. The kids particularly enjoyed the shop dog, seeing the stamp-making machine at work, and the candy that Paul so kindly shared as they departed.

In addition to the interactions that students at the Cook Library Center have with leaders, artists, and authors from the community, college students from Calvin College, GVSU, and GRCC often volunteer to tutor, help with homework, and lead  reading activities. Mary said that these students have helped her immensely with her homework, her reading comprehension, and her critical thinking.

Outside of school, Mary enjoys spending time with her friends. She enjoys having singing contests, building snowmen, playing with toy horses, watching SpongeBob SquarePants, playing with the family dogs, creating fake tattoos, reading comic books, and waking up her mother. Her favorite author is Dr. Seuss. When Mary grows up, she hopes to be famous stylist and actress.   

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