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BC and the Community

"Two Decades in the Books"

By Kathleen Sullivan | Chronicle Staff

Published: July 17, 2014

Last month, the Read Aloud Program marked 20 years of sharing the wonders of books with students in Brighton schools. Under the aegis of the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs, Read Aloud sends Boston College faculty members and staff on weekly visits to classrooms in Boston schools to read a story or book to the students. During 2013-14, 60 employees participated in the program.

On June 25, Read Aloud volunteers gathered at Walsh Function Room for a year-end celebration that featured a talk by guest speaker Frances Driscoll MEd ’63, author of The Swan Boat Ride. Each volunteer was presented with a copy of Driscoll’s book at the celebration, courtesy of the Boston College Bookstore.

“Boston College has a long tradition in the city of Boston and the Read Aloud Program is an important avenue for BC to connect with the local community. As a BC alumna, I was honored to present my book to the volunteers of the program,” said Driscoll.

“[Read Aloud] has allowed me to follow my passion while fitting perfectly into my busy schedule on campus,” said Capital Giving Staff Assistant Macala Lamour, who reads to fourth-graders at Thomas Edison K-8 School. “I read the kids a book called The Meaning of Life, by Bradley Trevor Greive, that my dad gave me for a graduation present. They loved the funny pictures of animals with thought-provoking questions underneath, and I used it to explain to them why it is important to go after the things you love.”

Jamie Beth Mihaich, an assistant controller, said she mostly read non-fiction books to her third grade class at St. Columbkille Partnership School. “I read books about Ted Williams, Albert Einstein, Thomas Moran, William Kamkwamba and Henry Knox.”

Even though the children knew the books were non-fiction, said Mihaich, “they would still inevitably ask me ‘Is that person really real?’ at the end. I loved when they did this, as I could tell their wheels were turning. I also treasure the moment when they asked if I could be their substitute teacher someday, this confirmed for me we were connecting, which felt great.”

Read Aloud organizer Laura Bitran, staff assistant for Governmental and Community Affairs, noted that many volunteers stay on: Readers Syed Khan, Burton Howell, Paul Karamourtopoulos and Deborah Augusta have been with the program since its inception, while another dozen employees are veterans of 10 years or more. Another reader, Ruth Chobit, was an integral part of the program for 18 years before retiring and starting a Read Aloud program on Cape Cod.

Bitran also praised Employee Development Assistant Director Carole DiFabio, BC Bookstore Director Bob Stewart, Educational Resource Center Head Librarian Margaret Cohen and Boston Partners in Education for their contributions.

“Through Read Aloud, BC faculty members and staff have touched the lives of thousands of kids,” Bitran said.

For information on volunteering in Read Aloud, contact Laura Bitran at ext.2-4787 or laura.bitran@bc.edu.

 

 

Senior Prom at the Veronica B. Smith Senior Center
March 21, 2014 - Brighton, MA - Senior Prom at the Veronica B. Smith Senior Center - members of BC Bop perform, along with BC Full Swing (a swing dancing group). Edwin and Faye Young, Residents of Newton dance to the smooth sounds of BC Bop. (photo by Christopher Huang)
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March 21, 2014 - Brighton, MA - Senior Prom at the Veronica B. Smith Senior Center - members of BC Bop perform, along with BC Full Swing (a swing dancing group). Dewan Woods, '14, of Full Swing, dances with Caire Weston of Brookline (photo by Christopher Huang)