Friday, 12 September 2014

Empowering Edmonton's Kids through the Early Reader's Programs

The media messages we are exposed to every day focus on the misery, tragedy, suffering and despair of innocent people around the world. While it's hard not get depressed about this, I do sometimes  wonder if this singular focus is really just a ploy to detract our attention from serious issues here at home. The truth of the matter is that - though it is hard to see with all of the million dollar homes sprouting up like weeds, the iPhone 6 Pluses selling out in an hour and the luxury cars on the road - there are people here in Canada barely making ends meet.

Last night, as a volunteer of Junior League Edmonton - which is a chapter of a larger organization of women working together to build communities around North America - we devoted our time to helping strengthen the Early Riser's program at Dunluce Elementary School.

The Early Riser's program operates before school  hours early in the morning and provides extra reading support to children falling below the standard level of reading competence. The teachers have found that many of the children participating in the program come with growling tummies in the morning. Many are sent from home without breakfast, and some without much dinner, either. One teacher remarked that back-to-school shopping for these children is done at Value Village. That is a very different reality to children in other neighbourhoods of Edmonton.

The Junior League ladies got together and baked over 700 muffins for the Early Risers program, to supplement the cereal, fresh fruit and smoothies that are enjoyed at the end of each reading session.

I'm often asked the question of why I get so concerned about children overseas when there is nothing we can do. Well, I disagree that there is nothing we can do, but working to strengthen our communities right here at home is something that each and every one of us can do.



  1. "Hearts of the Hearth". I love that word hearth...Thank you lovely volunteer members of the Junior League Edmonton for your nurturing homey hearts to those early risers! What a wonderful warm place to be..... giving food for the tummy to energize the food for thoughts! A very cozy, warm and heartfelt thank you to all the teachers who wake up each morning with these early risers!

  2. Thank you! It's a wonderful program, and we're very fortunate to have these kinds of resources here for children in need. I was talking with a friend this morning who also travels regularly, and for most children in the world, hungry tummies just get hungrier.