Recently Len Morrow forwarded some pictures of the sixth graders from the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in the Children’s Garden at First Baptist Church. The sixth graders have been making occasional trips to the church to read to the children in our preschool, their “Book Buddies.” It’s been a heart-warming partnership, and the pictures from the Children’s Garden were touching, but I didn’t know the story. So, I asked FBC member Melissa Brooks (our primary connection to AJCES) what happened. This is what she told me:
Thanks for asking! We celebrated our last “Book Buddy” meet up of the year with a Garden Party hosted by Dr. Potato Head (A.K.A. Len Morrow). We had to miss the month of April because of Spring Break and Coach G (teacher at AJCES) told me on the bus ride over that the kids had been asking her when they were coming to see their Lil’ Buddies again. When the 6th graders filed into the preschool classrooms it was electric! We did a little reading/play time in the classroom to catch up on life and then headed out to the garden for some planting with Len. He taught the Cooper kids a few things about planting while the little ones played. It was great to see the Cooper kids get their hands dirty and every so often look to Dr. Potato Head for affirmation that they were doing things correctly. Some planted vegetables, some planted perennials. Some of the kids were already thinking of family members or loved ones they could give them to. They were proud to put their names on the little stick and call it their own. It was their parting gift.
Then the Cooper kids and the FBC kids had a good ole fashioned playdate—and in the warm sunshine they were sliding down the slides together, and climbing on the monkey bars, and at one point I witnessed four very dainty little girls in the middle of at least 8 big 6th graders on the large teeter totter while the 6th graders rocked it wildly from side to side. My motherly instinct kicked in and I approached them to suggest that maybe the big kids should cool it a little bit as to not “scare” the little ones. Very quickly I was corrected by Miss Virginia Dean who insisted she wasn’t scared at all. In fact, the other three little girls quickly chimed in, “We’re not scared, either, we’re having so much funnn!” (their blonde bobs whipping and smocked dresses flying around as they rocked from side to side). Message received. I shut my mouth and stepped back and let it be. Powerful lesson learned, courtesy of a 5 year old.
We ended with a Popsicle.
Mary Hiteman has an AMAZING picture that she posted on her Facebook page and I insist that you use it. It literally brought me to tears. It’s a picture of one of those precious little blondes I mentioned embracing her Book Buddy. It’s powerful. You can probably nab it from Mary’s FB wall.
Thank you, Melissa, and thanks for going ahead and nabbing the picture. It’s precious.