Stories Matter

Today's edition of the Summer Internship series comes from Ashley Molina. Ashley is about to start her senior year at Eastern University. She is the President of the Latinos United Club and President and Ambassador of the Multicultural Awareness Advisory Committee. She is pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and plans to be a school psychologist. She loves writing, reading, musical theater and playing soccer. Here's Ashley to share reflections on her LitWorld experience so far.

It was a rainy second week at LitCamp, but the fun never stopped. We spent another amazing week singing songs, reading aloud, cooking, practicing yoga and dance. One of my favorite parts of LitCamp is listening to campers give shooting stars to each other during our morning meetings. Each camper gets a chance to choose someone they would want to send shooting stars to as a way of praising them for something positive that they have done. Seeing the campers praise each other for being a good friend or read-aloud partner, sharing during bunk time activities or simply being nice and giving positive reinforcement to each other is a humble and pure form of celebration.

During one of our morning meetings this week, one of our campers Jayda gave me shooting stars for taking the time to listen to her stories. It was a true honor and the smile on her face was such a blessing. As subtle as it may sound, listening really matters to children and shows them that their stories are being heard and that they matter. It is an affirmation of the core value of LitWorld: Stories matter.

Before starting our journey at LitCamp, all of us interns had a workshop with LitWorld's Founder Pam Allyn. One thing Pam mentioned was that deep listening really, really matters. It is important to be a great listener. While preparing for camp, we all worked on communication skills. A big part of those communication skills revolved around listening. You listen with your ears, eyes, undivided attention and with your heart. When Pam was explaining the importance of deep listening, she mentioned that when you absorb those stories with your own empathetic listening you begin to journey with the other person.

As Jayda was telling me her story, her smile and the excitement in her eyes start to paint a picture of the journey. As I traveled on that journey with her, she knew and felt that her story matters. She knew that the stories others have shared and are remembered today matter just as much. All the kids at LitCamp have a story and each of them matter. Being able to work closely with the kids and to get to know each of them individually has been an experience I will continue to carry with me always. I am excited to continue this journey with all of the staff to celebrate and affirm the strengths of these kids and with each other.