“I’m a wizard! I’m a wizard!” Cadence exclaimed running around the room making sure everyone heard him. We had been reading a story about a wizard who lived in a castle in a faraway place who was in search of his apprentice. On the last page, I told Cadence that the apprentice would be revealed (knowing the last page had a mirror) and the look of wonder that flew across his face when he saw his reflection reminded me why what we had done that day had left a positive impact.
Cadence was one of around twenty children that had come with a parent to the homeless shelter to be a part of a reading and ice cream event that we were hosting with the TOMS and ImagineLA Interns. In the weeks prior, we had held a book drive to collect books for the children and spent that morning building book cases in the shelter. It wasn’t until Cadence looked up at me and for a moment he was not a homeless child worried about where we would be sleeping that night but instead was enthralled in the whimsy of this book that I knew we had been a part of something meaningful.
All throughout our internship, everyone at TOMS always reminded us about the importance of giving and although it had been the reason that the majority of us had come to work here for the summer, being able to see the impact you can have first had brought that powerful lesson to life. We spent the afternoon reading to children who had faced more obstacles in their first five years of life than most of us had in twenty but for that day, we were able to offer them something that many may not have had before…a safe place to call their own.
When we left at the end of the day, Cadence ran up to me and asked, “If I come back here again someday, will this book still be here? Can I still read it?” Being able to say yes, that the book that brought him an afternoon free of worry would still be here any day that he needed it in the future, that is why this was more than a library for these kids…it was a home away from home.