20 Years of Words Alive

Change the Story of Your Life: Vichittra Chaleune

This post is part of our series in celebration of Words Alive’s 20th anniversary and our new brand promise: Change the Story of Your Life. Whether you are a donor, volunteer, participant, or all the above, Words Alive has a meaningful impact on your life story. Follow this link to get involved in the next 20 years of Words Alive.

An image of Vichittra faciliting suring a Family Literacy Program session. She is wearing a dinosaur costume and holding up a book.

An image of Vichittra faciliting suring a Family Literacy Program session. She is wearing a dinosaur costume and holding up a book.

How has Words Alive changed the story of your life?

Words Alive changed the story of my life at a young age. When I was in 1st grade I had a volunteer reader in my class and she helped me find the joy in reading. I was not confident in my reading skills and did not think I would ever like reading but my reader made stories so fun and engaging. As an adult, I now consider myself a reader and enjoy reading during my free time!

When did you first get involved with Words Alive? Why have you continued to support Words Alive?

 I’ve been at Words Alive for about 4 years now. I started off as a part-time Associate Program Manager where I assisted with the Read Aloud and Family Literacy Programs. During this time I was also a reader in a 2nd grade class at Golden Hill K-8. It was so much fun and just amazing to see our impact in the classroom first-hand. The experience was different from being in the office and hoping that what we do makes a difference. To be able to witness the impact we were having first-hand was such a joy. A few impactful experiences:

  • I read a story titled Rapunzel by Rachel Isadora and a little boy said, “That Rapunzel looks like my mom! She has long dreadlocks like my mom and I have dreadlocks too!” It was a wonderful feeling to see him so excited to read a book because he could connect with it in such a personal way.

  • I remember reading a story by an author named Brian and a little boy said his name is Brian so he said to the group, “I wrote this book!” We all kept the conversation going by asking Brian questions as if he were the author and we all had great fun with he story. It was a great way to get all the students engaged in the book in a different way and they were all so excited to discuss the story.

  • We read a story titled, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? And one little girl said, “That’s what I want to be when I grow up. I don’t care what people say I’ll still follow my dreams!”

It’s stories like these that encourage me to continue my work at Words Alive. Sometimes it’s hard to see past the nitty gritty of the work we do day in and day out but it’s reassuring and inspiring to know that we provide quality programs that will impact our next generation of readers and learners.

How are you currently involved with Words Alive?

I’m currently responsible for developing, implementing and coordinating the Words Alive Read Aloud Program!

What is your favorite Words Alive moment?

One of my favorite moments is when I was working with parents as a FLP facilitator and one mama said her son always wants to sing the parts of the book song and will always ask to read at home as a result of our program. She said before our program he never wanted to read and would get easily distracted but now he loves books and will hug the book after they read together just like we do during the FLP reading sessions.

What are you currently reading? 

We’re currently in high gear prepping for the next school year so I’m reading new curriculum books for the 4th grade reading list: The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. It’s The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter meets The Giver!