Alum Launches After School Reading Program at Chapel District

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Easton High School Junior Emma Chapple is a young woman who wants to make a difference in the lives of others. She is this year’s winner of the Soroptimist International of Talbot County Violet Richardson Award, which recognizes young women who make the community and world a better place through their volunteer efforts.

Emma received the Violet Richardson Award after implementing an after school reading club at Chapel District Elementary School (CDES) in Cordova, her alma mater. This involved planning and conducting an eight-week reading club.  She held fundraisers, including used book sales, to raise enough money to start the club and to purchase books. She recruited friends, family members, teachers, and community members to invest in the project and sent letters to local Ruritan clubs, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legions, who provided financial support for this project.

L-R: Melanie Chapple (Emma’s mother), Emma Chapple, Lea Ann Robinson, Media Specialist, Chapel District Elementary; Jodi Coleman, Principal, Chapel District Elementary.

The Soroptimist Violet Richardson award included a monetary award for Emma, as well as a check for $500 for her non-profit project. Recently Emma paid a visit to Chapel District Elementary to present the check to the library.  “I loved attending CDES. I have lasting bonds with many of the teachers there and my little brother currently attends school there,” Emma explained. “I also love working with children and wanted them to become more confident in their reading skills. In addition, it is my career goal to become a teacher.”

As part of her project, Emma raised over $1000 to start the program and purchase books for at-risk children to improve their reading skills over the summer, having learned that reading on grade level by fourth grade is critical to long term success in school. She also wanted to expose children to different types of literature, as her research has shown that this can help foster a lifelong love of reading, increase vocabulary, and promote self-expression.

Emma says the impact of the project was immediate, as children enrolled in the afternoon club expressed increased enthusiasm for reading. “I have had so many children who I have worked with come up to me in the community to give me hugs and tell me how much they liked being part of my reading club,” Emma adds. “My favorite and most memorable part of my experience was the last day of the reading club when all of the kids came up to me to give me hugs and told me what their favorite book was and how much they were going to miss me.”

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