RVE Gives Back – Volunteering at Bookspring


Red Velvet Events employees are amazing at organization, event planning, graphic design and many other things – but did you know they can also build a cardboard castle in only two hours?

Every month RVE volunteers at a local charity. A few weeks ago, they volunteered at Bookspring, a local nonprofit which focuses on increasing the literacy level in our community by providing books – and volunteers to read the books – to children who have little access to reading materials.

“A lot of the kids we serve are not from stable homes, and they don’t have books at home,” said Amanda Shaver, volunteer manager at Bookspring. “We teach parents and kids why reading is important.”

Part of the volunteer group from RVE was charged with making a cardboard castle for the library at a local elementary school. They were given a cardboard silhouette of a castle and asked to decorate it. Being the overachievers that they are, they built it out into a three-dimensional castle kids can climb into, and decorated it with drawings of dragons and princesses reading books!

Other RVE volunteers spent time at Blanton Elementary, located next to the Bookspring offices in Northeast Austin. They read to students in the kindergarten, first and other grades.

The children were delighted to have the guest readers come to their classrooms, and clamored for more books at the conclusion of each one. They were attentive and polite and clapped loudly at the end of each story.

Favorites included Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathmann, and an illustrated version of La Llorona, the popular Mexican folk story about a weeping woman who haunts the banks of a river.

Tracy Greene, Creative Director for RVE, coordinates the monthly volunteer opportunities.

She read to several classes and said of her day:

“The classrooms I read to were full of engaged, excited, well-behaved kids so I have no doubt they have amazing teachers and an already excellent day-to-day school experience – but I found it rewarding to be able to give the kids a read-aloud segment to their day the teachers might not always have time for. I was just as rewarded to give these kids this opportunity (that they were so thrilled about! – oh my goodness, their faces!) as I was to give the teacher of each room the time to take care of other classroom tasks,” Tracy said.

“Our teachers work so, so hard, and it was so easy for me to donate just a small bit of my time to make this a productive and fun part of everyone’s day – mine most of all. It was pure joy seeing the excitement the first graders had for Dragons Love Tacos and Harold and the Purple Crayon, and seeing the same in the fifth graders for a Teddy Roosevelt biography. It was exceptional to see how motivated every student of both age groups was to engage, make silly noises, describe expressions, define words, and ask questions.”

Bookspring has many volunteer opportunities, and would also love new or gently used books to share with children who need them. To learn more go to http://www.bookspring.org/.