N.B. THE CUSHION CLUB IS ON BREAK DURING REGULAR SCHOOL HOLIDAYS. IT MEETS SATURDAYS BETWEEN 10:30 A.M. AND 12 NOON – CURRENT LOCATION, THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES OPEN CAMPUS BETWEEN FACTORY ROAD (I.E. SIR SYDNEY WALLING HIGHWAY) AND QUEEN ELIZABETH HIGHWAY – UPDATED JANUARY 13TH 2016
Twin to writing is reading, and so it would be remiss of me not to mention the Cushion Club, another project with which I am actively engaged. If Wadadli Pen is concerned with writing, the Cushion Club’s mission is helping young people develop a love of reading (learning while having fun). The project has been in existence since 1997 (we’re actually not 100% sure about the date as we weren’t keeping track back then but
this feels about right Barbara Arrindell* then of First Editions, where the Club started, recently, i.e. in 2016, posted to my facebook that “the Cushion Club started some nineteen to twenty years ago…a year or two after Hurricane Luis” – which was in 1995), and I have been volunteering for many years (I’ve lost count…but not from the beginning). The Club is completely voluntary and welcomes children and teens of all ages for reading and reading related activities every Saturday between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. [UPDATE: 10 TO 12, Saturdays, at the Best of Books on Friars Hill Road] during the regular school year.
Initially a project of the now defunct First Editions book shop, the Club has moved around some – Woods Mall park, the Museum, the Best of Books, the Senior Citizens Activity Centre (Barbara Arrindell, referenced above, correcting the record, noted, that the “first meetings were held in vacant offices in the area now occupied by Inland Revenue [i.e. at Woods mall]. If no offices were available, it met at First Editions Bookshop. Only requirement was a cushion for children to sit on as they sat on the floor. Early readers were Lisa Mitchell, Joanne Massiah and Adam Winter. Later meeting places included the Museum and then the location shown here [she’s referencing a picture taken at the Senior Centre]. By that time Cedric Holder had assumed responsibility for it and ensured that it grew and flourished making a major difference in the lives of hundreds of children over the years.”) -but is now its own entity and
has been meeting met for some time at the Senior Citizens Activity Centre on Emms Drive now meets at the University Centre. The club’s sustainability is largely due to unwavering chief volunteer (and Youth Award winner for his work with the Club) Cedric Holder. His commitment to young people has extended to include Wadadli Pen with donations to the annual prize package and the Buckleys Primary school with donations, regular interaction with the students, and the contribution (in the Cushion Club’s name) of an annual prize to the best humanities student in the graduating class.
The Cushion Club welcomes donations of books and reading material/games, more children, more volunteers, assistance with our periodic field trips (to everything from Wallings Dam to the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival to a joint session with the St. JohnPentecostal kids reading club or to the Rotaract Haliborange Spelling Bee )…and perhaps someday a home of its own or at the new Antigua Public Library (we would love to see this facility opened regularly on Saturdays in part to accommodate projects like the Cushion Club).
Thanks as well to past partners, volunteers, and contributors like the Best of Books which periodically donates books to the Club, Juanita Elizee (or Teacher Elizee as the kids call her) who
works worked with the Senior Centre, Darien Book Aid (a book donor) – http://dba.darien.org/, the Girl Guides of Antigua and Barbuda which has donated both books and time; visiting authors – such as Patricia Harrington (author of the Fat Cat and Gray Mouse series of books), Chadd Cumberbatch (author of Ya Ya Surfeit), Joy Lawrence (author of The History of Bethesda and Christian Hill, Island Spice, The Way We Talk, and Colours and Rhythms), and Floree Williams (author of Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses); other guest readers such as Chief Librarian Dorothea Nelson; others who’ve given books such as St. Kitts-Nevis author Carol Mitchell; and other volunteers such as Daydre Daley and Asha Challenger.
To contact the Cushion Club email email@example.com
*re insertions by Barbara Arrindell, I pulled them in 2016, from her comments on a Cushion Club post I did on facebook because I believe in setting the record straight and know that the Cushion Club existed for years before I came along. Credit where due. Re this and other edits, I’ve left the strikethroughs as the record is evolving and I want to be transparent. At this writing, the Cushion Club still meets at the University of the West Indies Open Campus and as I am very rarely there these days, it’s exclusively on Cedric’s shoulders. He still considers me part of the team though all I do really is help get the word out; point being , he could use some help and support.
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