Faces of Success: Susan Lonon
Susan Lonon realizes parents are extremely busy. Lonon can appreciate how daily routines leave mothers and fathers exhausted because she’s a parent herself. Lonon still finds time and energy to read to her 5-year-old son at home and also shares her love for reading with other children through United Way of Metropolitan Nashville’s Volunteer Reading Days.
“Reading is a big part of my son’s life,” said Lonon. “I am passionate about reading, and this passion motivates me to read to other children.”
Volunteer Reading Days are monthly engagement opportunities for volunteers — like Lonon — to read to students at Read to Succeed sites. United Way’s Read to Succeed program prepares at-risk children with the basic reading readiness skills to prepare them for future educational success. Since 2010, more than 4,300 students have graduated from the program that currently has a 97 percent s uccess rate in kindergarten preparedness.
“Getting involved and reading to children at young ages helps build and strengthen their educational foundations. Hopefully when they become adults, they’ll want to give back to help future generations.”
Research indicates that reading aloud to children presents books as sources of pleasant, valuable and exciting experiences. Children who value books are also increasingly motivated to read on their own. Lonon’s Volunteer Reading Day experiences have left her with some incredible memories.
“During one of my recent Volunteer Reading Day experiences, the kids thanked me for reading to them by singing a song to me. I teared up; it was unexpected and so sweet that they appreciated the time I spent reading to them.”
Lonon also appreciates how United Way’s partnership with community organizations and agencies improves the lives of Nashville children. She’s particularly fond of one United Way partner agency because of her son’s health struggles earlier in life.
“My son was born prematurely; United Way’s support of Nurses for Newborns is tremendous. I am very involved with Nurses for Newborns because of my son’s experiences; their work helping Middle Tennessee’s medically fragile babies is remarkable. The partnership between United Way and Nurses for Newborns has inspired me to become more involved in United Way’s work. I encourage others to do their research, and get involved with United Way.”
Volunteering with United Way doesn’t require a major time commitment. Lonon’s most recent experience only required one hour of her time. It was an hour well spent helping children develop a love for reading and books and also provided Lonon with a boost of energy for her daily routine.
For more information about United Way of Metropolitan Nashville volunteer opportunities, please visit: www.unitedwaynashville.org/volunteer