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A Sunny Future
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A Sunny Future

At one o’clock on a sunny Friday afternoon in June, Brett Freeman arrived at Julie Billiart School with a smile on his face and a Cleveland Reads Lit Kit in hand. Rebecca, a bubbly and curious fourth-grader, greeted him excitedly. The friendly banter continued as the two found their way to their regular meeting place to read Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur.

Brett, a sophomore secondary education major from Burton, Ohio, began working with Rebecca in spring 2008 as a volunteer in the Cleveland Reads program. Formerly the Greater Cleveland Literacy Coalition, Cleveland Reads is a volunteer organization that provides resources for family, youth and adult literacy. The program serves as a resource for over 130 literacy programs in Greater Cleveland.

Getting involved was a way for Brett to not only gain teaching experience, but make a difference in the community. "It’s about helping students better themselves and, ultimately, helping to make the world a better place."

To date, Notre Dame’s affiliation with Cleveland Reads has been limited, but according to Sr. Carol Ziegler, special assistant to the president for mission effectiveness and the College’s liaison to Cleveland Reads, there is potential for the fledgling program to take flight. “This is the kind of work we would like our students to be doing,” she said. “In a way, it allows students to live the College’s mission early on.”

Brett’s involvement has him looking forward to a career in the classroom. “Working with Rebecca has been rewarding. It made me realize just how much I want to be a teacher.”

Steve Ruic is the writer and editor at Notre Dame College.