Rick and Kathie Anderson were born and raised in Omaha. They share love for the Midwest and world travel, and as retired school teachers and lifelong library advocates, they love working with kids.
Several years ago, Kathie suffered a life- and career-altering brain aneurysm, after which she was unable to work as a kindergarten teacher. The thought of no longer working with children pained her to the point where it was difficult to drive past the school where her former students played.
Kathie turned to Omaha Public Library to help fill the void as a volunteer.
Rick said, “We’ve been library people from little to growing up. I remember reading everything I could about sports and the Wild West. Kathie used to frequent the bookmobile when it came to her neighborhood. We raised our kids with library cards and would go to the library all the time.”
Kathie volunteered to read to preschoolers for two years at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 W. Dodge Rd. Rick and Kathie next volunteered at Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Ave., a joint facility with Omaha Public Schools and Omaha Parks and Recreation, where they visited classrooms and listened to the children read to them. Rick smiles when he speaks of of their experience and the kids’ excitement. “Kathie loves the hugs that the kids give her.”
Kathie is doing well. She enjoys Reader’s Digest, but hopes to move on to longer stories and eventually books as her memory gets sharper each day. Her experience with the Library has helped her to cope with her circumstances. “I’ve got all the education and it’s fun to be able to use it. It’s fun to be in touch once again with [kids]. This is really just what I needed,” she said.
For this couple that plans their lives around their volunteer schedule, Omaha Public Library is grateful. Passionate volunteers like Rick and Kathie help to make the Library’s mission to strengthen our communities attainable. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Jody duRand at 402.444.4807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.