Posted by: universallearningcentreblog | January 20, 2011

A Momentous Occasion by Dana M. Jean


Volunteer Helps First Wave of Library-Users

Truly a moment worth savoring.  Years after Jacques first envisioned a library in his home town, the moment finally came about.  Shelves were lined with books, the sections buzzed with activity, children filled the tables. The library is up and running!

Once the library was stocked and students began coming in, a volunteer who travelled from Massachusetts to join the team, worked with students as they explored the new children’s section and tested out all the new supplies.  They were enthralled!

Saskia Van Vactor is the Director of Scholastic and International Outreach for the Basic Science Partnership (BSP) of Harvard Medical School.  In October, when the ULC team travelled to Haiti to receive the book delivery, Saskia joined them, representing BSP, and brought with her several computers donated by BSP.  BSP is a program geared towards students in inner city schools where resources are extremely limited.  They aim to make science “come alive for students through hands-on discovery.”  ULC was the fortunate recipient of their first international outreach.


Computers Donated by BSP

The computers donated by BSP are a welcome addition to the library that we had not expected quite so soon and a thrilling surprise.  A heartfelt thanks goes to BSP and it’s wonderful group of individuals who made such a gift possible.

In addition to such generosity, Saskia also helped organize the first wave of students who came in to peruse the new collection and had them draw pictures and then write Thank You Notes to the people back in the U.S. who had helped fund the trip and the costs related to shipping the 25,000 books from Canada.

While the students were experimenting with the new art supplies, they were asked by Saskia and the other volunteers to draw certain animals with the hopes that their art might help decorate the library walls.  Surprisingly, many of the children could not draw animals that may seem commonplace to those of us who did not grow up in a developing country.  The children struggled, trying to figure out what  zebras and giraffes look like!  In the new children’s section of ULC, books were immediately accessed so the children could begin their first real learning experience in the library.


Referring to Pictures in a Book


Loving Those New Art Supplies!

Years of planning and countless hours of work went into getting ULC to this point in its history.  Thanks to volunteers like Saskia, we are moving into an entirely new phase.  Watching children use the library was years in the making and these photos hardly do the moment justice, but of course we will continue posting in the hopes that you might feel the power of this momentous occasion as we did.  It is truly overwhelming.


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