Reading to children outside, sometimes with a golf umbrella, has its challenges. But Companis Worker Lee Campbell hasn’t let that stop her. She’s been reading to young children at Seattle’s University District Children’s Center since 2009. Lee has also been volunteering with Companis as a bookkeeper since 2005. She’s currently helping Feed the Need – New Walk Chistrian Church in Burien with their finances. But Companis founder Craig Darling recommended she try this, too. “He told me that I needed more fun in my life,” she says, “and that’s how it started, over 12 years ago.”
Most of the kids Lee reads to are between three and five. They sit nearby, hang off fences, and even take turns holding the big umbrella. She’s been given many names. “I’m Lee, Teacher Lee, Grandma Lee, and sometimes even Mama.” The work is physical, too. “I sit in a camping chair and they take turns sitting on my lap. I have kids leaning on my shoulders and sitting on the arms of my camp chair. It’s not totally comfortable for my body but it’s great for my spirit!”
The Companis Worker Support meetings also lift her spirit. She says other volunteers love hearing about these curious little human beings. “It brings a lightness to our support group,” she says. A lightness that Lee also experiences first hand from her camp chair every week, rain or shine.