Monday, June 11, 2012

US Volunteers Include Local Children's Author

Twenty-two  volunteers from Virginia Sate University, Class of 1968, ‘fondly called the Moonlighters’ visited the Mustard Seed Community, Mahoe Drive Headquarters, on May 28. They read and sang to the children; the little ones, at the primary level, and the older ones with various mental and physical challenges. Part of the team also planted a vegetable garden. The newspapers reported this as volunteer tourism supported by the US Ambassador, Pamela Bridgewater, and that it is. The group dressed in T-shirts identifying their university, undaunted by the heat, was enthusiastic  and delightful. They engaged the  children, who for their part, participated happily. The US Ambassador, who  attended  that university,  was also there, and she read to a group as well.  Lovely!

What I found  outstanding was that this group of American volunteers decided to include a local author in this activity. The leader of their group, Larry Leverett, contacted me by email,  having seen my blog (so the social network really works), and asked if I would join the group as a local author in reading to the children. In being generous to our children, the group gave not only of their time and  books  (donated by Scholastic contributed by the US Embassy’s Robeson Information Resource Centre - books of all types, including delightful African American books with lovely illustrations depicting children who look like ours); but they gave them another precious gift, that of including a local author. These children will know that on a particular day, not only did Americans come, but also there was a Jamaican; Jamaicans also have the gift of writing books.  Perhaps because of this one child may decide that he/she can write for our children. Who knows? Thank you, Moonlighters, for thinking of including a local author. So at the end of the visit, when some of the children performed their songs , I was moved to get up and invite the children to join me in singing the folksong from Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune. No, I cannot sing.  But usually I feel it’s worth it to share with children my abilities as well as my ‘inabilities’. It’s good sometimes for them to see that grown-ups aren’t all powerful. They too need help, from little children, especially in signing.

Larry Leverett had  asked me to contact other authors, publishers who might donate books, and I did. We got books from, Dennis and Jackie Ranston of Twin Guinep,  Kellie Magnus of Jackmandora, Jana Bent of Reggae Pickney, Carlong Publishers’ Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series, and from myself as well. Everybody was delighted to contribute what they could.  Thanks to them. More interaction will come of this, I know. 
Thanks to everybody involved, including the Mustard Seed Community for  welcoming us to this oasis in the city.  All in all, totally lovely!


  1. Congratulations, Diane & kudos to US Ambassador, Pamela Bridgewater and Larry Leverett.

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  3. Thanks so much Diane for your participation. Meeting you also made this visit extra special for us. The Virginia State University Moonlighters will always remember your warm and giving heart.

  4. I like. May more of this happen to enrich the lives of our children.Glad the networking is working.

  5. Thanks for all the kind comments. Gloria, it was a delight to meet you also. I'm so impressed and pleased that the Moonlighters decided to come here for their volunteer work. I wish all of you all the best.