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Children's Storytelling-Bookmaking Workshops Set

Nov. 16, 2004 – Parents and teachers should take note of an exciting opportunity for children to write and make books on St. Thomas, Nov. 30-Dec. 4, at the Enid M. Baa Library Children's Reading Room. The Forum, a local non-profit organization dedicated to bringing stimulating events and performances to the Virgin Islands, has partnered with 826 Valencia, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, to bring a children's storytelling and bookmaking program to the Virgin Islands.
Children in the second to fourth grades are invited to participate. During the two-hour program, the children will collectively create a short story with a trained facilitator. At the same time, an illustrator captures the children's imagination by drawing pictures related to the story. As the story is being created, it is projected onto a wall, allowing the children to keep track of it as it develops. By the end of the event, the children leave with a personalized, bound and illustrated book they have just helped create.
"The Forum chose this particular activity because it has a great track record of success in terms of getting children excited about writing and storytelling at a fairly young age. Not only do the kids learn the basic theory behind creating a good story, but they are also instilled with a sense of pride and satisfaction from creating something tangible of their very own. The idea that children can write a story, have it illustrated, personalize it and leave with their very own book in a two-hour period is extremely exciting!" Tynnetta McIntosh, Forum board member, said.
The initial program will occur between Nov. 29 and Dec. 4 (see below).
McIntosh said the program is possible only through a generous donation made by Chase Bank before it left the island. "The program is also being enthusiastically supported by Claudette Lewis, executive assistant commissioner of DPNR, which oversees the territory's libraries. We have also partnered with The Friends of the Enid M. Baa Library, another local non-profit that supports the local libraries," McIntosh said.
Partners from 826 Valencia will be on hand to conduct the initial sessions, as well as train local volunteers so that the program may be conducted on an ongoing basis.
While here, Nínive Clements Calegari, executive director of 826 Valencia, will also hold roundtable discussions with other interested non-profit organizations to share her insights on running a successful children's non-profit program, such as best practices, building community and fund-raising.
Sponsors are looking for volunteers to help conduct and carry on these sessions as well as donations to the program. See below for tentative schedule, volunteer opportunities, contact information and details on 826 Valencia.
The tentative schedule is as follows (time pending, call for details):
-Tuesday, Nov. 30 – Storytelling/bookmaking program
-Wednesday, Dec. 1 – Storytelling/bookmaking program
-Thursday 12/2 – Storytelling/bookmaking program
-Friday 12/3 – Storytelling/bookmaking program
-Saturday 12/4* – Storytelling/bookmaking program
*Please note that while we are trying to get classes in the program during the week, Saturday's Field Trip will be open to any interested child on a first-come, first-served basis.
Maximum size per 2-hour session is 30 children.

Teachers or parents who are interested in having their class or child participate in one of the sessions should call Yasmine Haynes at 774-2273 or Tynnetta McIntosh, (212) 552-3716.
Volunteers Needed
Sponsors are looking for and in need of volunteers who are interested in being trained by 826 Valencia so that the program can continue after the 826 Valencia folks are gone. We need story tellers, artistically inclined folks to act as illustrators, typists to type the story as it is being created and others to help with the kids and help assemble the books. Each time the program takes place, at least four volunteers will be needed. We are trying to keep the program running one to two Saturdays per month in connection with the Friend's of the Library's Saturday morning children's reading program. Anyone interested in volunteering or observing the program should call either Dr. Patricia Harkins-Pierre at 693-1357 or Haynes at 774-2273.
Roundtable Discussions for Nonprofits
Nínive Clements Calegari, executive director of 826 Valencia, will also hold roundtable discussions on St. Thomas with other interested nonprofit organizations to share her insights on running a successful children's nonprofit program.
Calegari is a classroom veteran with a decade of teaching experience. She has also presented at three nationwide conferences focused on teacher coaching, creating fair and successful student assessments and integrating arts into mainstream curricula. Nínive holds a masters degree from Harvard University School of Education in teaching and curriculum.
At the roundtable (depending on interest), she will discuss three main topics: educational programming for nonprofits, financial viability (what has helped make 826 successful, best practices, fund-raising) and building a volunteer community. Anyone interested in attending a roundtable should call either McIntosh or Haynes at the above numbers. The tentative date is Thursday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m., at Lilienfeld House on Synagogue Hill on St. Thomas.
About 826 Valencia
826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and helping teachers get their students excited about writing, McIntosh said.
Services are structured around the knowledge that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention. All of the work at 826 Valencia stems from the need for strong writing skills which will provide the necessary platform for success for the rest of the students academic experience as well as preparation for their professional and personal lives.
Named for its location in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District, 826 Valencia opened in 2002. Since then, over 500 volunteers – including published authors, magazine founders, SAT course instructors, documentary filmmakers, students and other professionals – have donated their time teaching workshops, providing one-on-one tutoring, publishing student books and going to local schools to work with thousands of students.
826 Valencia was founded by Dave Eggers, author of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He continues to be a vibrant part of the literary community as editor of McSweeneys and author of a second novel and numerous articles in the New Yorker, Salon.com and other publications.
Sponsors are also looking for donations to help defray the cost of the program. So far, Draughting Shaft has been very generous in donating various supplies and Golden Eagle Financial, an EDC company, has purchased and is donating a book-binding machine to the library. To help support the program, call Haynes or McIntosh.

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