Sweet Readers has been extremely important to me. The Sisulu-Walker Charter School Sweet Readers program was even more impactful as my grandma taught there for many years before being diagnosed and sadly passing away with Alzheimer’s. I remember telling the students that my grandma taught there, and a teacher informed me they had known her. My grandmother’s spirit was kept alive throughout the program by the dedication of the teachers, the empathy of the students, and the hard work of everyone involved. Knowing that my grandma devoted so many years of her life to Sisulu and seeing the positive impacts through the educated, benevolent, and resilient students that participated in the Sweet Readers Sisulu Program filled me with great joy.
One of these students was Daniel, a Fifth-grade student at Sisulu. To him, sweet readers was an opportunity to help others in need. When discussing how his time with the adults impacted him, Daniel said, “It made me happy to see them and to talk to them.” Furthermore, Daniel says, “this experience has made me care more about others.” He also pointed out the importance of this program amongst the Covid 19 pandemic. Daniel remarks, “I think sweet readers are especially important during the pandemic. I helped my adult feel better, and they were able to make me laugh.”
As a facilitator, I have seen the bounty of laughter shared by students, teachers, and adults. I have also seen the beauty of the relationships as they evolve throughout the five sessions. I see the transformation from stranger to acquaintances to friends. Daniel pointed out the importance these relationships had to both the adults and the students. It gives them the courage and power to be resilient in these trying times. Sweet Readers breaks down the barriers of age, location, and isolation to bring together incredible individuals such as Daniel and all the other adults and Sweet Readers who participated.