Tag Archives: Kaelynn Wilson-Bennett

Resident will launch teen reading, writing groups

by Paula Coughlan
SUGAR GROVE—Kaelynn Wilson-Bennett of Sugar Grove always has loved reading and writing, and in college founded a literary magazine. Now she wants to provide a place where other young writers can compose and share their works, and to assist them in honing their talents.

“I always wished I had someone to help me,” she said.

Wilson-Bennett currently is reading approximately 1,000 surveys to help her set a direction for teenage reading and writing clubs that will meet at the Teen Zone at the Sugar Grove Public Library. Local high-school and middle-school teachers distributed the surveys to their students for Wilson-Bennett. The survey also is available at the Sugar Grove Library’s website, www.sugargrove.lib.il.us.

Wilson-Bennett wants the reading groups to focus on fun, new and trendy books. The groups will only visit the classics if that is what their members want, because they will select the titles.

She is planning a possible kick-off party during the summer, perhaps with a movie marathon showing “Harry Potter” movies or the “Twilight” series, holding the first meeting afterward.

Library Board member Julie Wilson likes Wilson-Bennett’s idea.

“It is really important to keep the younger minds involved with reading. And discussions with your peers opens doors and ideas,” Wilson said. “I think joining reading with the creative writing will only help. It is the hope of the Sugar Grove Library Board that this program will catch on and keep growing.”

In addition to starting the teen groups, Wilson-Bennett hopes to put her literary magazine experience to use, providing a showcase for local writers’ work.

“My long-term goal is for the Sugar Grove Public Library to put out a literary magazine with submissions from students and the community,” Wilson-Bennett said. “The members in the club will help me with the process, learning how to lay out pages and edit.

Earthquake devastation heartbreaking for former missionary

by Martha Quetsch
SUGAR GROVE—When the severe earthquake hit Haiti last week and TV stations ran footage of the devastation there, Sugar Grove resident Kaelynn Wilson said her heart was broken.

“My initial thought was … they don’t need any more problems in Haiti,” Wilson said.

She said it was emotional for her to see on screen the earthquake-torn places that she is so familiar with, having gone to Haiti five years ago on a mission with her church, Sugar Grove United Methodist.

“I saw those buildings, I went to those markets, I walked those streets, and the conditions were bad before,” Wilson said.

In 2005, Wilson, a teenager at the time, went to Haiti to help at the Grace Children’s Hospital in Port Au Prince with her church pastor, the Rev. Steve Good, and other members of their congregation. While there, she befriended a child and wrote to him regularly after returning to the U.S. until the child, who had AIDS and a cleft palate, died.

She believes awareness is crucial before people will offer their help and support to the Haitian people, particularly the country’s youngest and most vulnerable.

“Small children should not have to suffer,” Wilson said.

Wilson said if people from Northern Illinois form a mission to go to Haiti to help, she hopes to join them. Meantime, she wants to boost awareness among the American public about the Haitians’ plight, not only now, but historically. She said that the earthquake is just one more trauma on top of others that came before in Haiti, from poverty and political upheaval, to health issues including AIDS and tuberculosis.

“I am spreading the word, that if you are able to help, please do,” Wilson said. “There is so much that needs to be done.”

Photo: Sugar Grove residents, from left, Stephanie Claesson, Kaelynn Wilson-Bennett, Amanda Mendoza and Kristin Heckert, participated in one of Sugar Grove United Methodist Church’s past mission trips to Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Courtesy Photo