Charley’s World – Episode Ten

The Learning Center didn’t take long to establish. Community volunteers were very helpful in volunteering their labor. Natty and Marco’s parents were good at recruiting painters, cleaners, and others.

The foundation provided funds to buy books, furniture, toys, and other items to make the Learning Center inviting. Charley worked with the literacy volunteers to share his experience with Natty and Marco.

The initial group of children was paired up with the volunteers. While the children’s reading skills were improving, Charley just didn’t see the enthusiasm that he saw in Natty and Marco. The kids who were in the second round seemed to view the reading program as something they had to do rather than something they wanted to do. Charley realized that he had forgotten something, but he didn’t know what it was.

As he was taking a shower the next morning, he recalled his track coach telling the team about their excitement button. “This is tough work. The practices will be demanding. There will come a time when each of you will see little progress and you will think of quitting. But one thing I know from doing this for many years is that each of you have an excitement button in your bodies. Once your brain activates that button, you find real joy in both the effort and the results. Here’s the important part: that excitement button works for everything you do in life.”

Charley realized that he needed to help the volunteers discover the excitement button in each child they were working with. This would be tough because finding that button takes a lot of observation and listening. But it’s there. Once you find that button, it can be activated to motivate the reading and math skill development and make it something to look forward to.

During a program review with Sandra and some of her foundation colleagues, they were energized by what Charley told them about the excitement button. “Charley, you really need to start capturing stories about your children and their learning journeys. This could inspire others as well.”

Charley took their suggestions and began story writing. In the process, he found out something about his own excitement button.

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“Learning should be a joy and full of excitement. It is life’s greatest adventure; it is an illustrated excursion into the minds of the noble and the learned.” – Taylor Caldwell (Author)

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