Sya VanGeest

Sya 2Sya is an avid, veteran storyteller, comfortable telling to all ages. She's a regular volunteer in schools, children's groups, senior homes, church groups, and special events, and a teacher of the craft of storytelling. She is an experienced educator with more than thirty years as a classroom teacher, consultant, author of curricula and short stories, and teacher-librarian in high schools and elementary schools. 
Sya's stories may come from her life experience growing up as a middle child on a farm, or ancient tales with their roots in oral traditions such as the Bible, folktales, and fairytales.  She finds many gems hidden in the fabulous body of picture books in her large personal collection, to which she regularly adds current gems found at her favourite bookstore in Guelph, The Bookshelf.
Sya is a founding member of the Guelph GoGo Grandmothers (4Gs) (2006). It is part of a global grandmother movement supporting the African Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. That, in addition to personal, loving connections to Africa, explains why currently Sya is drawn to stories that originate in Africa. She is part of 4Gs Griots, a troupe of 4Gs tellers who regularly visit schools, seniors' homes, and churches to dramatize African stories and bring awareness of the significant needs of African gogos and their extraordinary accomplishments in caring for orphans in their community. 
Sya was the recipient of the Ontario Library Association Distinguished Service Award in 2004 and the Guelph Women of Distinction for Voluntary Community in 2010 and the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in 2021. 
Life is good with sixty-plus years of marriage to late husband Lane, sharing the joy of three daughters and four amazing grandchildren.
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