Miranda McKearney, our Director, spoke about the amazing 49% increase in the number of Summer Reading Challenge volunteers and then chaired a discussion with Hannah, Kenya and Tom, Reading Activists from Hackney and Warrington.
Tom said, "when you volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge you see how enthusiastic the kids are about reading and that really spurs you on to read. I never used to be a confident reader but volunteering made me see how confident how I could be. If you'd asked me 4 years ago if you thought I'd be at Downing Street now I'd have said 'no'. I've loved every single minute of volunteering and it's improved my confidence miles."
Three of the Reading Activists from Westminster also wrote about the evening here, and shared their thoughts about the event, as well as the benefits of volunteering.
"I was really pleased to hear that the volunteering had a positive influence on other young people like it did on me, through confidence building and learning of the importance of reading and libraries to education." Morenike
"It was great to see so many young people with such great ambition and the drive to help make a difference in the life of a child through reading. Furthermore it was inspiring to hear how volunteering through the Summer Reading Challenge had helped change the lives of volunteers themselves. If the opportunity comes along, I would definitely volunteer again; amazing overall experience." Aramide
"I was thinking of... a boy I talked to who had just come over from Spain a few months ago, and he was still learning English, but he managed to coherently and passionately talk about two books - it was really inspirational to listen to him and it also got me thinking about doing something else to help foreign children in the UK." Imogen
"I still feel extremely honoured that I had the fantastic opportunity of being invited to 11 Downing Street. I will be forever thankful to idea store for allowing me to have such an experience. It is a memory that I will never forget." Ndi
"I have really enjoyed my time volunteering at the Idea Store Whitechapel, and I am over the moon about going to meet Frances Osborne as it is an opportunity of a life time!" Sofina
You can read more about the young people from Tower Hamlets' experiences as Summer Reading Challenge volunteers on the Idea Store website.
There are lots of photos from the event on our flickr page and below.
You can also view some photos of the event taken by the young people from Warrington here.
Book to change the world
As the event took place at a very powerful address we asked our Reading Activists and other guests to suggest books which they thought had the power to change the world. You can read the suggestions on our Reading Groups for Everyone website.
Click below to hear why the young people feel that the books they chose could change the world.