Interview with Amy Gill, Co-Chair of Fundraising

1. Tell us about yourself.

I am currently attending SFU. I will be completing my Bachelor of Science Honors degree in Biomedical Physiology in April 2019. I will be applying to medical school in the near future and I hope to be accepted into the Northern Medical Program offered through UBC. I aspire to specialize in geriatrics and provide quality healthcare to older adults located in rural and remote regions in British Columbia.

2. How did you become involved with the Reading Bear Society?

When I first got involved with RBS, I was seeking an organization that shared my passion for early childhood literacy. One phone-call with Dr. Joanne Roussy, RBS President and Co-Founder, in early 2015, sparked my desire to get involved with RBS. I was excited to work with a group of like-minded individuals who shared my interest in encouraging early literacy through intergenerational mentorship.

3. What is your current role with the Reading Bear Society?

Currently, I am the Co-Chair of Fundraising. I have led various fundraising initiatives to collect books and bears for the preschool and kindergarten classroom visits. To date, these fundraising efforts have led to the collection of 1500+ books for RBS. Additionally, I have been working hard to bring RBS to SFU. I am the President of SFU Reading Bear, a club that brings together SFU students who are also passionate about promoting early childhood literacy. Since 2016, the club has held a variety of awareness and fundraising events at SFU.

4. What is your best memory of the RBS?

When I first got involved with the club, I took on the responsibility of organizing book drives in the community where I live, Cloverdale. I did not anticipate some of the challenges that I would face. Many of the organizations that I contacted were already actively involved with other fundraising efforts and could not assist me in my attempt to collect books and bears for RBS. After receiving letters of rejection over the span of a couple months I felt defeated until I went back to the drawing board and started to brainstorm new ways in which I could gain support from my community. After coming up with some innovative solutions, I was able to collect a couple hundred books in less than a month. I remember sitting in my garage and doing a final count of all the donated
books and being blown away by the numbers.

5. Why do you support Reading Bear Society?

I have been reading to my niece and nephew since the day they were born. My niece is now nine and my nephew is three. Watching them grow over the years, I have seen the benefit of promoting early childhood literacy in the home. Reading to children allows us to teach pass on valuable skills and traits such as emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and resilience. Learning these values helps shape a child’s growth and development, resulting in young adults who are well-equipped to conquer the world while pursuing their goals and ambitions. I am honored to be involved with an organization that helps promote the mental, emotional, spiritual well-being of Vancouver’s youth through reading and intergenerational mentorship.