AAHC, Love of Reading Month combine heritage, story time

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. -- In an effort to help children develop a love for reading, Davis-Monthan volunteers visited
the Dorothy Finley Child Development Center and Borman Elementary School classrooms here to read to the children as a part of the African American Heritage Committee's Youth Love of Reading month. 

"This annual community service event provides benefits for the volunteers as well as the
youth," said 2nd Lt. Tammie Ellerbe, 355th Mission Support Squadron, an AAHC member who is the coordinator for Youth Love of Reading. 

Maj. Clifton Hicks of the 55th Rescue Group, chairperson for the event, said that the emphasis was on African American history and accomplishments, but readers were encouraged to read anything commensurate with the ages of the children. 

"For the volunteer s, it is an opportunity to educate the youth on the history of African-Americans," Lieutenant Ellerbe said. "For the youth, it should spark a life-long interest (and) aptitude in reading." 

Carrie Lockner, Child Development Lead Program Technician, said one of the boys in
her room was worried about a stranger coming into their room to read to them. But when the volunteer Airman came, the little boy was no longer afraid and said, "He's not really a stranger because he has a uniform suit just like my Daddy." 

Senior Airman Covito Redman of the 355th Medical Support Squadron, one of the volunteer readers, said, "I want (the children) to know that reading can increase their learning, expand their imagination, and help them to gain knowledge." 

Child Development Center staff members have already noticed results. Iris Vasquez,
Child Development program assistant said, "The children love Senior Airman Covito Redman of the 355th Medical Support Squadron reads a fable to children at the Dorothy Finley Child Development Center here Feb. 15. listening to stories because readers
have introduced new stories to them that help them to expand their vocabulary and understanding." 

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Faulkner, an aircrew life support apprentice at the 357th Fighter Squadron, said he volunteers because "I love kids. I think it's amazing when you realize
all the little things they can pick up from a story." 

Youth of Love Reading Month continues through Wednesday.