Shelby Wall reads Curious George to children at the North Okanagan Child Care Society — the local musician has been reading to the youngsters as a volunteer for more than a decade.

Shelby Wall reads Curious George to children at the North Okanagan Child Care Society — the local musician has been reading to the youngsters as a volunteer for more than a decade.

Longtime volunteer deserves recognition for dedication to literacy

Vernon musician Shelby Wall is thanked by North Okanagan Child Care Society for more than 10 years of reading to children.

Editor’s note: The following was sent in by the North Okanagan Child Care Society to thank longtime volunteer Shelby Wall, and to recognize him for his contributions to children’s literacy over the past 10 years.

It has to be said that the citizens of Vernon are tremendous in their willingness to volunteer, be it an unavoidable disaster, or a sports event coming to town. These citizens are worthy of all the recognition they get…and then some.

There are also those citizens who volunteer their time week in and week out. They may not be saving lives, but their work is equally valuable. The fact is, they probably change lives, but those changes are not always visible either to the volunteer or the recipient. But these generous and good-hearted people are just as deserving of the recognition that often goes unheard.

The North Okanagan Child Care Society would like to take this opportunity to recognize someone who is so very deserving. Some of you may know him in a professional capacity with his accounting work. Or you may know him as a very talented jazz musician who plays in the Lent-Fraser-Wall trio. If you have ever seen him play, you will know Shelby Wall is a passionate musician, but you may not know that he is passionate about a few other things, and one of them is reading stories to children!

Way back in 1985 Shelby was attending a college literacy program, where he learned about the value of literacy. He obviously paid attention, because he knows that the value of a story is not to teach a child to read, but to instill the love of a story. He believes that children need early exposure to stories and books so they do not feel intimidated later on.

Early literacy obviously became a passion of Shelby’s, and he took steps to expand his understanding of the importance of children developing their early literacy skills. When attending one such workshop where he was the only man present, Shelby made the acquaintances of some friendly staff from North Okanagan Child Care Society. For those of you who don’t know us, we are a non-profit society and registered charity providing early childhood development programs and care for more than 200 children aged nine months to 12 years. When Shelby accepted their request to come and read to the children, they didn’t believe for one minute that he would still be coming more than 10 years later!

Every Monday, just before lunch, you can hear the children in the hallways saying, “Shelby’s coming to our class today.” First Shelby will sit at a child-sized table and eat his lunch with the children. It is during these interactions that friendships develop. When lunch is finished they gather around in the story corner eagerly anticipating the adventures of Curious George. They love to see Shelby waving his finger as the man in the yellow hat talks to George! And all the children sing along to their favourite songs when Shelby brings his guitar. There is real joy in the faces of the children, which in turn brings joy to Shelby. More often than not, the true value in volunteering is how good it makes the volunteer feel.

It is safe to say that Shelby’s first love is music. He is at a stage in his life when he would like to devote a little more time to that particular passion. And while he isn’t ready to join the leagues of the early childhood educators of Vernon, his is hoping to make story-time with the children a life-long pursuit.

We would like to send a message to Shelby: a heartfelt thank you for the many years of support you have given us. Never underestimate the inspiration you provide to all who have shared your story time!