Reading with Orange Grove Elementary

Betsy Villalobos

by , Senior Manager, External Communications, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products

Reading with Orange Grove Elementary
For the past couple months, a co-worker and I have spent our lunch hour with a classroom full of energetic third graders to emphasize the importance of reading. I really liked this program because I was able to read to the kids in both English and Spanish and share my Hispanic heritage with them – making for an even stronger connection to a largely Hispanic student population.

This particular reading program is made possible through the Disneyland Resort’s Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement’s (HOLA), one of six diversity resource groups that contribute insight to the Resort, furthering its diversity and inclusion goals.

On the last day of our program – when all 100 kids were treated to a pizza party – it hit me how just a few weeks inside a classroom can make such a significant impact on not just the kids but also on the teachers and on us, the volunteers. As soon as the kids walked in, they were greeting us by name. And when it came time to leave, there were lots of hugs and kids saying: “We’ll miss you.”

I couldn’t believe that such a small act could have such a huge reward. Seeing their smiling, pizza-filled faces was a personal reward I certainly wasn’t expecting.