Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Giving Back Tammy Wiggins; Book Lover Shares Her Passion for Reading with Preschoolers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Giving Back Tammy Wiggins; Book Lover Shares Her Passion for Reading with Preschoolers

Article excerpt

Byline: Christina Dozier

When people volunteer, they can change lives - including their own. Each week in Reason, we will highlight a volunteer's story of giving back and how that selfless act was a true revelation. The volunteer project is a collaboration among the Times-Union, the University of North Florida, the United Way of Northeast Florida and HandsOn Jacksonville.

Helping others is second nature to Tammy Wiggins.

From the Special Olympics to participating in various book drives and donations, Wiggins enjoys serving her community - especially organizations supporting children.

It is this dedication that led her to volunteer for the United Way of Northeast Florida.

She initially became involved with United Way through her employer, NGA Human Resources. Wiggins was an ambassador for NGA's United Way campaign, during which she learned of ReadingPals and was immediately captivated.

The ReadingPals initiative connects a volunteer with a pair of preschoolers for 30 minutes a week to read books and develop the skills needed for their success in kindergarten.

"I've always had a passion for books and reading. I was delighted to share this passion with kids," Wiggins said.

"I am a big believer in books being the foundation for children to explore, learn and increase their knowledge regarding everything from letters and numbers to colors," she said.

Even after three years with ReadingPals, Wiggins has as much - if not more - enthusiasm and excitement about the program as she did when she began.

"I've become addicted to participating in the sessions. I look forward to planning and meeting with the kids each week. I don't just simply read to them, sometimes I sing, do voices, we dance, play games. ... I try to make reading fun and memorable for them," she explained. …

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