Sheila Jenkins is a unique contributor to the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE). Back in 2003, she created ONFE’s OttawaReads program, an early literacy program that inspires a love of reading in young students. Since that time, Sheila has continued her journey with the program as a volunteer and a monthly donor!
Since her retirement six years ago, Sheila has given back to our community by volunteering in kindergarten classrooms at Cambridge Street Public School. Some of these children are new to the country and are only beginning to learn the intricacies of the English language. Though these students have varied levels of literacy, Sheila sees the powerful impact of her volunteer efforts: “Helping children who may come from homes where reading is not a priority or there is simply no time to read is incredibly rewarding. The individual involvement with caring adults not only introduces young children to the wonderful world of literature but it also shows that someone cares for them and wants to spend time with them, which boosts their self-esteem.”
When she reads to students learning English, she witnesses their joy when they recognize words in a book and understand parts of a story. As the children develop literacy skills, she often enjoys fun conversations with them that are based on the stories she reads.
As an on-going supporter of ONFE, it’s clear that Sheila feels a strong attachment to the organization. “The OttawaReads program is very dear to my heart. It is an important program in so many ways. ONFE and OttawaReads matter to me because they offer invaluable programs to children and provide a multitude of volunteers with very rewarding experiences. It is a win-win situation.”
Through her experience in creating this program, Sheila knows that donations are crucial to OttawaReads’ and ONFE’s sustainability: “A donation to ONFE is a donation to building our community. Programs provide children with the building blocks to allow them to be contributing members of society. We are building success and what can be more important? And monthly giving is just so easy!!”
Sheila, thank you for playing a huge role with ONFE and in our community. Volunteers and donors are indispensable to ONFE. We couldn’t run our programs without you!
Feeling inspired by the impact of this devoted volunteer and donor? Join ONFE’s ever-growing Neighbourhood and help students in Ottawa learn, dream, and achieve! onfe-rope.ca/get-involved/donate/