It's too long, but I know I can whittle it down probably another hundred words if I need to. But what do you think? This was really the only way I felt like I could expand on this topic on my common application or on the supplements in the kind of depth that I wanted to. Let me know your opinion! Thanks
Some people are talkers. Some people are drawers. And some people are readers. That's me. I'm a reader. If you put a good book in my hands, you're golden. Literature has been my sanctuary in which to escape from the chaos of a dysfunctional family, and it has given me the key to my own imagination, taking me on wild trips to the park with Mary Poppins and crazy adventures inside an over-sized peach with young James. As a child, I was snobby with literature. A good book was my good book, and any stranger who read it was trying to steal my bond with the characters. It was really only during my high school years that I figured out how lucky I've been in my love affair with books, and how many kids have yet to meet the right title and fall in love. After having this humble realization, I decided to do something about it. And so begins the tale of the Storybook Festival.
Youth Tutors of Greensboro, an organization I launched in my junior year, had completed a successful semester of tutoring. I began to wonder how, in the midst of math and critical reading analysis, we were instilling a love of reading in our children. In our fierce determination to raise test scores and provide mentors, we hadn't been focusing on the great commonality that brought all of us together in the first place: our love of delving into a good book. I spent my summer meeting with Jenny Caviness, Greensboro Youth Council's adult supervisor, discussing a festival that would get kids excited about literature. I began to realize that I had the power to make this event as explosive or as quaint as I imagined. I knew this was my opportunity to transform my idea into reality.
Planning an event for YTG was overwhelming- the volunteers, materials, and money that were required were staggering. I applied for a grant from the Greensboro Teen Grantmaking Council and received 2,000 dollars to fund the event. Jenny described a GYC fall festival called "Ghoulash" in which we could have a trial run and see how my idea played out. I decided to have YTG host a room at the event and work out the kinks before our spring Storybook Festival. We've chosen a Harry Potter theme, given that the final movie premieres in November, and we'll have a number of games and activities to excite kids about the series. Harry Potter books will be given away as prizes, and our volunteers will be decked out in costumes. This is our chance to get our name out to parents and students so that our spring event can be better publicized.
The Storybook Festival is unquestionably the high point of my high school career. It is the daydream that filled my days of lifeguarding at the pool, and the thought that brings me out of any teenage funk threatening to kidnap my motivation. I can envision the festival so clearly. As soon as a kid walks through the doors of the Cultural Arts Center, he will wonder if he's entered another world. To his left, Adventureland beckons him, with the fantasy and thrill of Narnia and Treasure Island calling him to come and dress up as a knight or pirate and gather round to hear stories of faraway places and daring deeds. To his right, the sights and sounds of the Animal Kingdom capture his attention. A monkey from the Natural Science Center is shaking hands, and he can get his face painted as a cheetah or lion and watch puppets act out The Jungle Book. He walks down the decorated hallway and enters the Sports Arena, with games such as table-soccer and football. Hula hoop competitions are in one corner, and stories of exciting mountain climbs and thrilling water sports are read aloud. After experiencing the magic of the themed rooms, he wants to own and read the titles featured, but he doesn't know where to find them. The answer looms in front of him- a Scholastic Book Fair. He can pick out books to his heart's content, and a portion of the profits will go towards the YTG fund so he can come again next year. He leaves with a goodie bag and his mind lost in a newly enlarged imagination.
The idea of having other people experience something that has existed solely in my mind for so long is terrifying, yet exciting. My mom says that a child who doesn't love to read just hasn't found the right book yet, and I think she's right. The festival is reaching out to every elementary school in Guilford County, and since I am ensuring that it becomes an annual event in the community, children can look forward to it every year to rekindle their love and vigor for reading. I think I've successfully grown out of my literature-snob days. Now what brings me pure happiness isn't keeping my books a secret for my own enjoyment, but rather watching a child's face light up while reading one of my favorite stories for the first time and knowing that I helped to create the atmosphere that made it possible.