Claire’s Day: Above and beyondWritten by Julie Rubini | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been blessed to discover individuals within the community who have experienced a life-altering event, and have, amazingly, given of themselves in some way directly as a result of their challenge. It has been a humbling and gratifying journey as I’ve met, recorded and shared their offerings with you.
For this month’s article, I’m turning the tables a bit and shedding light on a team that comes together every year, give countless hours to the cause, lending talent and support to a tribute in honor of a little reader gone too soon.
Even more amazing to me is that most of the Claire’s Day committee never even met our daughter.
I know why we created the annual Claire’s Day event.
What I’ve been curious about is why our 30 dedicated committee volunteers chose to not only involve themselves in our organization, but helped move it forward and grow the series of events that we produce.
So, I asked them.
“Being a part of the entire Claire’s Day experience is something I look forward to every year. From reading all of the nominations of the amazing students who are being honored to meeting the authors of the fabulous children’s books to the bustle and excitement of the day itself — there is no part of it that I do not love. One of the benefits I did not expect was coming to know such a diverse group of individuals, all committed to helping keep the celebration going, for Claire, her family and the thousands of children who are touched by this event,” Anne Cross said.
Anne is the co-chair of the C.A.R.E. Awards, the special recognition given to students who have been nominated as being the most improved readers in their schools.
Joe Ludwig, the recently retired branch manager of the Maumee Library has chosen to stay on the committee, even though no longer a necessity due to his retirement.
He says, “Having known Claire as a patron at the branch and the idea to take this tragedy and turn it into something positive appealed to me from the first conversation I had with Julie. As a librarian, I thought the idea had great merit and was willing to throw all the resources I could muster into making the first event a success. As we have grown throughout the years, I take great satisfaction in knowing we are providing a wonderful free event to the public that also reaps benefits to all who choose to participate, whether it be attendance at the event or participation in the C.A.R.E. Awards program via the student’s school. We also benefit those who are not directly involved through the book donation program to libraries at the schools and throughout the county.”
And from Jennifer Habrych, the community relations manager at the Barnes & Noble store on Monroe Street, and one of our remaining original committee members: “From the moment I met Julie and she asked me to come aboard for the first Claire’s Day I knew that I was joining a special group of people.
The first year the committee was formed of close friends and contacts that all knew Claire. I believe that I was the only one that had not had a personal encounter with her. Very early on I started to feel her spirit. It came through everyone. The spirit, care and welcoming that they brought to that committee table was unlike anything I’d encountered. No one was there simply to put on a book festival; they were there to honor a young incredible child’s spirit, and to offer something to the community that would illustrate how one person can impact many. The spirit of that first event lives on every year. Whenever bogged down in the minutiae that make such an event come together I just remember what happens in the end and all the stress disappears. The look on a child’s face when they meet an author that to them is like meeting a rock star. The parent that has a tear in their eye when they say how much it means to have their child recognized with a C.A.R.E. Award when their struggling reader is usually never acknowledged. The author that says they want nothing more than to come back to an event unlike any other they’ve encountered. In the end Claire’s Day is never work to me. It’s exhausting. It’s exhilarating…”
Jen continues, “No one becomes part of the Claire’s Day family without feeling the spirit of that young, special girl. It’s that spirit that makes people want to be part of the day.”
Make sure to get caught up in the spirit and join us for Claire’s Day on Saturday, May 15 at the Maumee Library.
And, be sure to thank all the folks walking around in the purple committee shirts with the Claire’s Day logo on.
They’re my personal heroes.
To see more of the committee members’ comments, visit www.clairesday.org and visit the News and Information link. Click on the “Committee offerings” file.
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