Friday, June 15, 2007

Charity begins at home . . .

Or should I say, a homeless shelter. Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying Ralph Masiello on a visit to a brand new library at the homeless shelter run by Dimock Community Services in Roxbury, MA

Ralph was a HUGE hit with the pre-school children. It’s been years since I’ve seen Ralph in action and he is quite the performer. I had no idea that over the years children across the country who can’t remember, or pronounce, his name call him everything from Ralph Messy Jell-o to Ralph Macaroni and Cheese.

In addition to showing some of his original paintings and talking about reading and books, Ralph captivated the audience by showing the kids real skulls from a monkey and a skunk. He also had a model of a panda’s skull that he let the children touch. This was an experience these children will not soon forget.

And what would a visit from Ralph Masiello be without a drawing demonstration. Step-by-step Ralph showed us how to draw a ladybug, a sea horse, a dinosaur, and a dragon. But that didn’t satisfy one young boy who begged Ralph to draw – you guessed it ! – a SHARK.

Each child went back to school with a huge smile and a personalized bookmark signed by Ralph. I came back to the office grateful to Ralph for generously giving his time and to Charlesbridge for donating 100 books to this new library at the shelter.

So if your bookshelves are over-flowing with books or the stack of books on your nightstand is about to topple over and you’re thinking about what to do with those books that you don’t want to keep forever and ever, donate them to a shelter, your neighborhood health center, your local school . . .Share your books and spread the love of reading.

Posted by Mary Ann. More pictures from the visit are in the gallery at the right.

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