Growing up in Camden and later Pennsauken, attorney Alan Moldoff was encouraged by his parents to read. He frequently read two books at a time, too excited about the second one to wait to finish the first. Alan brings that enthusiasm to his volunteer work as a BookMate. As many of us were taught decades ago, reading aloud ”with expression” is an added treat. Spending a half hour each, once a week with two second graders at Forest Hills Elementary (Camden), Alan happily explores the topics that interest his young BookMates. He brings in several books each session and has read everything from unicorn stories to the nonfiction tale of Balto, the heroic dog who carried needed medicine to sick children in Alaska. When he was with a law firm in Philadelphia, Alan participated in a different literacy program. The youngsters were brought to the building by bus for a session with the adults, but each time period had many youngsters listening to one reader.
Alan finds the one-on-one style of BookMates to be “very satisfying” and much better for connecting with each youngster. Now working in an “of counsel” status in a Moorestown law firm, Alan makes his session at Forest Hills an integral part of each week. Acknowledging the importance of the relationships he is establishing, Alan states,”I will make the extra effort to get there.” Alan teaches his students that reading books will “take you anywhere you want to be and to any time period.” While serving the community in other volunteer positions, Alan shares his belief that “the male, caring and stable figure” is an important image for both boys and girls, especially those in some of our school communities where youngsters often live in one or no parent households.
Encouraging others to become a BookMate comes naturally to the Moldoff family as Alan’s wife Randee is both a reader and a member of the BookMates’ steering committee. Asked by his classroom teacher to speak a little about being a lawyer, Alan soon had an additional second grade class sitting in. He started his interactive talk by asking the youngsters if they knew what “justice” means. The session ended by many convinced youngsters, raising their hands to show they wanted to be lawyers when they grew up. Ben Franklin said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Alan Moldoff is certainly proof of that adage.