Pen Women Outreach Initiative


This new and stimulating Outreach program is an innovative idea focusing on another means to further our mission as Pen Women. The truly thrilling part about this program is that an individual member can do it herself as an entity of one. It doesn’t require several members of a Branch.

“Calling all Members-At-Large.” This concept is certainly not limited to Members-At-Large, but it is a distinct possibility for your involvement in your community. Pen Women, whether part of a Branch or a party of one representing Pen Women in your region of the country, can “make a difference” in young people’s lives.

The program is simple: Just listen to a child read

You go to a local elementary school and volunteer to make periodic visits to listen to an elementary student read. This program has been instituted in various forms in some cities, and often involves dogs being brought to schools or libraries to serve as “listeners” as children read to them. A similar on-going program in the Nation’s Capital engages military service members who volunteer to listen to children reading in a one-on-one environment.

Step One:

Determine an elementary school in your community and approach either the District Superintendent or the Principal of that school. Ask if the school is interested, and how you get cleared to do such a program.

Each school system has different requirements, but most require finger printing and a simple background check to ensure your clearance to work with students. It is generally not difficult, but takes a short period of time.

Step Two:

You will have already explained your desire to provide this opportunity, but after you have been cleared, ask for a recommendation of a teacher and class that may need this extra assistance.

The teacher and the school principal will determine where you would be able to perform this service, and then set up a mutually agreeable schedule whereby you arrive and just sit and let the student read to you. You don’t provide the reading material; the teacher will provide the child with something at his or her appropriate reading level.

It is really as easy as that. 

Experience has shown that young students enjoy reading to an adult, and the adult not only listens, but is able to help with any words that may be causing a struggle for the reader.  Often the students want to discuss the story, and they may get chatty, which is fine.

The most important aspect of this activity is that the kids are getting practice reading aloud, and developing confidence in reading and talking to adults, learning manners and developing positive associations with reading.

Through this effort, you are shining a positive light for Pen Women in the community,

fulfilling a mission of Pen Women, and probably, most importantly, helping a child read more fluently and confidently, quite possibly one of the most essential elements in education.

Outreach in the community is what brings value to our membership and recognition to NLAPW, Inc. You are encouraged to share your outreach success stories. Email laura.walth@gmail.com.


National League of American Pen Women
Outreach Committee Report
May 12, 2016

Laura Walth, National Outreach Chair and 2018 Biennial Chair

NLAPW Outreach Mission Statement:

The mission of NLAPW’s Outreach Program is to provide support and promote community based arts and creative educational programs through our national headquarters, state associations and branches throughout the United States.

The purpose of Outreach is to advance the creative arts and increase an awareness of the need for all citizens to have access to the enjoyment of the arts and creative endeavors.

The Outreach Committee presently consists of Laura Walth, National Outreach Chair, Ronni Miller, 4thVice President, and Marie Kriss, member of the Denver Branch.

The NLAPW’s Outreach Program will:

Encourage all of its state associations and branches to become pro-active in community-based educational, mentoring, and charitable activities in art, literature, music and dance in order to meet the criteria expected of a 501(c)(3) organization.

Offer quality seminars, workshops and outreach programs designed to promote artistic, literary, and creative endeavors (which includes music, dance, film, theater and public speaking) for members and non-members.

Enhance the programming and increase the membership of all of its state associations and branches. Establish a basis for the formation of new branches in those areas where no branches currently exist. Promote the standing of the NLAPW locally and nationwide.

The Outreach Committee will explore a partnership with various organizations throughout the United States with the help of the branch presidents or outreach chairs. The Outreach Committee will be exploring options of programs and projects, like Painted Sounds  and The Artists Journey, which are just a couple of examples that may be of service to these organizations.

Respectfully Submitted by

Laura Walth, Des Moines (IA) Branch
National Outreach Chair
and 2018 Biennial Chair