I volunteer for an organization called BookPALS. BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is a national program administered by the nonprofit Screen Actors Guild Foundation. BookPALS help children learn to love books by bringing the talents of performer volunteers into classrooms, hospitals, shelters, and other venues. Right now I have two classes I adore in Pacoima and a hospital I visit every two weeks or so in North Hollywood. It’s something I think is super important and I’d encourage all SAG-AFTRA members to join. Learn more about BookPALS by clicking on the image above!
I also write letters to a child in elementary school through an offshoot of BookPALS called PencilPALS. PencilPALS is a program designed to make reading and writing a first person experience for children in elementary and middle schools. Each child involved in this program has an opportunity to write and illustrate his/her own letters and stories. The childrens’ letters are then mailed to a Performing Artist for Literacy in Schools. PALS are volunteer performers from the BookPALS program with whom the children can share their thoughts and school happenings. PALS write response letters to the children, and before long, inter-generational relationships prosper between the children and their PALS.
I also mentor elementary school kids through a program called Young Storytellers. Their goal is to develop literacy through the art of storytelling. I just finished up a session at a wonderful school in Venice and it was a great experience. My kid’s story was thrilling, and he was an absolute joy to work with. I highly encourage anyone interested in this kind of mentorship to contact The Young Storytellers Foundation.