Seeing Smiles through the Eyes of Clifford
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Seeing Smiles through the Eyes of Clifford

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June 6, 2016

Written by Sara Blackburn, United Way Intern

It isn’t every day you are given the opportunity to walk (or, more accurately, “shuffle”) in Clifford’s feet! Having only been an intern at United Way for just a week, I immediately jumped at the chance to help out and jump in the big red suit. 

On May 25 I attended the My Very Own Library event at United Way Community School Auer Avenue as none other than “Clifford the Big Red Dog”. The collaborative event between United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Scholastic Book Fairs, Milwaukee Public Schools, and My Very Own Library literacy program was just one of several held throughout the school year to help students build their own home libraries and get excited about reading. The event I attended featured Newberry-award winning author Kirby Larson, who read her new book “Duke”. After the reading, the students were also given a copy to start their summer reading journey off alongside a brave German shepherd and his owner during World War II.

Being “Clifford” was as much fun as it was inspirational. I met so many students, teachers, and program coordinators who all shared the joy of reading. As the person in the costume and seeing through the eyes of Clifford, I can honestly say firsthand the students who took part were ecstatic to spend their morning with their storybook friend. From the moment I stepped into the gym for the event, I was given dozens of hugs, high-fives, and warm greetings from the Auer Avenue staff and students. One child even began petting me, as they would their own dog!

My Very Own Library at Auer Avenue was a major success, as was clear by the excitement of each and every student, faculty member, and guest in attendance. Superintendent Dr. Driver described books as having the capacity to transport you to a different time and place. My experience as Clifford the Big Red Dog definitely transported me to a place filled with Milwaukee students who are eager to learn and read over summer break.

About the Blogger

Sara Blackburn is the Brand Journalist Intern at United Way and a graduate student at Arizona State University. Sara enjoys writing stories of the programs and people making a positive impact on our community.


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