We love that old saying, “The family that reads together, leads together,” or is that how it goes? Let’s just say that with our creative twist of the proverb, the father and daughter duo William Wallace and Sasche Robinson are a perfect case in point.
Wallace, a Community Support Division Commander for the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, was instrumental in starting a Lead to Read KC program at Benjamin Bannaker Elementary School earlier this year.
“One of my officers wanted to start a reading program at Banneker and Radell Oakman, wife of our Chief of Police, suggested instead that we start a Lead to Read KC Program,” said Wallace. “She’s been a long-time Reading Mentor at a couple of schools.”
Once the Banneker Principal was on board, Wallace started recruiting Reading Mentors, including his daughter Sasche, who is a Communications Supervisor for the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department.
“It is exhilarating to watch the faces of the children when we first meet and then how they gravitate to you as we read together. I have made it a task of my own to get as many people involved in the program as I can.” said Wallace.
Robinson adds, “Reading and interacting with the students is rewarding for both student and mentor, I know they are often the best part of my Wednesday.”
They both believe the impact goes far beyond their 30 minute sessions and each week there are great opportunities to make positive connections with young people.
“The small amount of time dedicated to building a love for reading with a student is worth it,” said Robinson. “I had to miss a session and when I returned the next week my student asked about my absence, letting me know he also values our reading time.”
“Some of these children have never had real contact with the police and through this program, several now have.” said Wallace. “One young guy in particular is a very good reader, but has some behavioral issues. It took me a while to break through to him and still to this day there are times when he just will not read. That’s ok, because I’m going to keep coming.”
Want to learn more about getting involved in Lead to Read KC? Apply to be a Reading Mentor today at leadtoreadkc.org/volunteer.