Volunteer Group “Motor Moms” Help to Restore Library at Sampson-Webber Academy during first-ever Holiday Learning Fest

The Sampson-Webber Academy library is undergoing a complete make-over thanks to a group of volunteers called “Motor Moms.”

Four women from the group are leading the effort, along with community volunteers, to renovate the library by repainting the entire facility, cleaning the carpet, and refurbishing the bookshelves, tables and chairs.

The Motor Moms have also secured hundreds of new and gently-used, age-appropriate books that were all donated.  The group plans to place barcodes on the books so they can be checked out by students at Sampson-Webber, which is one of 18 schools open as part of Detroit Public Schools’ first-ever Holiday Learning Fest.

“We’ve been collecting books for the last few years hoping to put them on the shelves very soon, once all of the barcodes are installed,” said Sally MacKinnon, Community Liaison for Motor Moms.  “Without being able to read, our kids are lost.”

Motor Moms have been volunteering consistently at Samson-Webber Academy for more than three years to train students on fine/gross motor skills and reading techniques.  The group decided to take on the restoration project at no cost to the district after seeing a need for a fully-functioning library.

“One of the teachers said she could actually see a difference in the test results from students who work with us,” MacKinnon said.

Motor Moms is a group of parents from the Motor Moms and Dads Program used by over 400 elementary schools and preschools across Michigan and the United States to help young children ages 3-7 gain the motor skills necessary for academic success, according to the program’s website, www.motormomsanddads.com.

The group volunteers at Sampson-Webber Academy each Thursday, working with more than 100 students per week.

“A lot of our students are struggling academically, and the reason why is because their motor skills are underdeveloped,” said Jason L. Patton, Principal of Sampson-Webber Academy. “These women work with the students weekly, and it truly does help to improve their overall academic success.”

Motor skills are the ability to perform complex muscle-and-nerve acts that produce movement.  Fine motor skills, such as writing and tying shoes, generally refer to the small movements of the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips, and tongue.  Gross motor skills are large movements like walking, kicking, and jumping.

“For them to volunteer their time, I can’t say thank you enough,” Patton said. “I definitely see the impact, and they’re making a huge difference.”

In addition to children’s books, the group is also seeking books for adults to encourage parents to read more.

To donate books to the Sampson-Webber Academy Library, contact Jason L. Patton, Principal of Sampson-Webber Academy, at 313-596-4750 or at jason.patton@detroitk12.org.

About the Holiday Learning Fest

Through the brand new Holiday Learning Fest, a program sponsored in part by the Office of Food Services, 18 schools are open to students for six days (December 27, 28, 29, 2011 and January 3, 4, 5, 2012) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide academic support and remediation, fun activities and nourishment for students.

Key components of the Holiday Learning Fest include:

  • Breakfast and Lunch will be provided to all students and parents who participate at no charge
  • Free food baskets and other donations will be available for students to take home
  • At seven schools, where there are Parent Resource Centers, parents will be able to take part in engaging workshops
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