Before the pandemic, volunteers came to Promise House to lead a Book Club to engage youth staying at the shelter. This year, the Book Club continues – by way of Zoom.
Volunteers from Dallas Global Shapers are leading the book club virtually on Wednesday evenings through November 4. About 15-20 youth, ages 9-17, are reading March: Book 1, the first in a trilogy of graphic novels depicting a first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. The Virtual Book Club also incorporates interactive activities, a Q&A and discussion on the civil rights movement. In tandem with the Book Club, Promise House staff members are hosting a 5-week reading challenge filled with prizes and a Civil Rights Bingo Game to discuss civil rights. The youth are also keeping journals to explore their feelings and responses to the book.
Engaging with books like Lewis’s March trilogy helps youth express feelings and boosts feelings of empowerment, according to Promise House CEO Charles M. Wolford II.
“Having grown up in a household with the kind of uncertainty and insecurity that can cause kids to end up in a place like Promise House, I can tell you that programs like the Book Club can truly change lives,” said Wolford. “Our youth need opportunities to look to positive role models like John Lewis, to have the chance to reflect on his story and express themselves in a safe, supportive environment. It can literally make the difference that allows a young person to make it, rather than end up on the streets indefinitely.”
The volunteers are young professionals in the Global Shaper Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum aimed at empowering young people to take action locally to make a positive impact.