Written by: Brie Petty
Saturday has proved to be another exciting and productive day for the volunteers of Books&Beyond! Even though we were a bit tired in the morning from travel and the exercise we got during free time last night, we managed to pull it together and get a lot done. The day started out with everyone eating a healthy breakfast together. After that, the gymnasium was quickly transformed into a Writing Partner Workshop. There were laptops, notebooks, pencils, pens, cameras, and people everywhere! It is really incredible to sense the energy in the room of a writing workshop- like a hive of buzzing bees. Each team was busy doing their own work, but also accomplishing a common goal.
While writing partners were finishing their stories and illustrations, some members of the fundraising, PR, and documenting teams attended a fundraiser for Books&Beyond in which they presented to people interested in learning about the project. It was a great way of spreading the word about Books&Beyond…wish I could have seen the presentation myself!
After a writing workshop, Caitlin Ryan and Caleb Kurowski gave a presentation about the genocide in Rwanda and held a discussion between IU and Newark students. I’m really glad this was included as part of our day, because it is important to remember the cultural background of what we are doing. Even though it was a difficult time in Rwandan history, we look forward to a bright future for the country itself and the Books&Beyond project.
We then ate a delicious lunch from Subway and got ready for ice skating in Bryant Park! It’s so exciting driving into the city with all of Times Square lit up so bright it looked like day time. After a lot of fun ice skating (and a few slips and slides), it was time to head back to the TEAM academy. We had an evaluation workshop where we discussed the IU weekend and also the future of Books&Beyond and any changes we could make. Although Books&Beyond is a project I have enjoyed being involved in the past two years, it is important to reflect and look for opportunities for improvement.
Right now, we are all in the gym having a big sleep-over. Tomorrow will bring reflection activities, kudos, good-byes, and a trip to New York City for the IU students. It’s been a great weekend in Newark, New Jersey and we look forward to ending on a positive note!