Community Based Projects
Altrusa is an international organization known for community based projects that focus on specific needs. Gwen Gibson is a member of the Altrusa International Club of Caldwell County. This club devotes a lot of attention to literacy in the schools through volunteer hours such as Operation Read. This past May, Gwen heard my keynote speech about literacy at the district Altrusa meeting in Winston Salem. She liked my message and thought students at Lower Creek Elementary School would enjoy my books and meeting an author, so she contacted Leigh Anne Frye, the principal of Lower Creek, with the idea. Leigh Anne then invited me to share my books and life as an author with kindergarten through second grades.
The one-hour drive to Lower Creek from my home earlier this month was an enjoyable one. The color of the leaves presented a beautiful sight against the rolling hills of 64-west to Lenoir. Margaret Cannon, President of the Caldwell County Altrusa, and Gwen greeted me at the door. Once inside they directed me to the media center where I was introduced to Leigh Anne. She helped me set up and shared that the children were excited about my visit.
The kindergarten classes along with preschoolers from Lower Creek Baptist Church were the first group to hear my presentation. They were well behaved and attentive. During our time together, I read two of my books and shared how I sometimes get ideas from real life. For example, one of the main characters (Louie) is a dog because I have a dog. The idea for Tired of My Bath came about from experiencing my own children and grandchildren not wanting to take a bath, but once in the tub, loving it.
The first and second graders were inquisitive and asked questions such as how long does it take to write a children’s book. They also were interested in where I get my ideas. Although I explained I often get ideas from real life, I shared the importance of reading and how reading can transport a person to another place or time, perhaps sparking a thought or idea for a later essay or story.
I enjoyed my day at Lower Creek Elementary School, and was impressed not only with the hospitality of students, staff, teachers and administration, but also that school board members took time out of their busy schedules to come by for the event. Those in attendance were Darrell Pennell, Duane Knight and Ann Edwards.
After my visit, Leigh Anne sent Gwen an email sharing her thoughts about the day. She said, “The kids really enjoyed having Mrs. McCullough. Her story lines were creative and interactive, and she engaged the adults during her presentation. I truly enjoyed listening to her character development as she involved her audience in the timeline and predictions of the characters. We look forward to hearing about her next book(s) and hope to have her back at Lower Creek as a visiting NC author. Thank you to the Altrusa club for their continued commitment to education in Caldwell County.”
Thank you Gwen Gibson and Leigh Ann Frye for all you do for children and for the invitation to share my story and books. I look forward to another visit at Lower Creek Elementary School sometime in the future. It’s great to see schools and communities working together for the benefit of children.
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