Thursday, April 17, 2014

March Accomplishments 2014

Hands On Learning for Kids In Partnership Families
During the early dismissal week at Fair Oaks Elementary, 32 youth and 2 moms, volunteered to participate in a KIP art day. These dedicated youth and helpful moms worked together along with Project READ staff on collaborative art projects that will be displayed at our annual BBQ and Award Ceremony in July.

Later in the week, over 50 KIP students, tutors, and moms ventured outside of the neighborhood on a field trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose.  There, students and families enjoyed hands-on fun including food sculptures with multi-sensory play dough, watering the garden, imaginative play, bubble fun and self face painting.  Students were also excited to see that the imagination station exhibit stocked full of large foam blocks was back!

KIP Story Hour Celebration at Fair Oaks Community Library
Daylight savings came just in time for our spring celebration at this month's story hour!  Over 75 students, tutors, family members and community volunteers came to kick off the extra hour of light with a puppet show performed by Randall Metz of the Puppet Company.
Families also enjoyed receiving the monthly family book, Mouse’s First Spring, and creating art projects inspired by the story including signs-of-spring binoculars, watercolor butterflies, and a food sculpture “mouse” family made of strawberries, chocolate chips and licorice.  Hands-On-Bay-Area volunteers, lead by Maryanne, continued to be a vital source of support at this month’s story hour. These dedicated volunteers not only helped with set up and clean up, but also brought the interactive crafts to life for many of our KIP students and families. We truly appreciate their support! Participants finished the evening with choosing additional books for the home library.

KIP Small Groups and One-on-One Tutoring at Fair Oaks Elementary
Weekly, over 70 youth continue to participate in small groups and one-on-one tutoring at Fair Oaks Elementary. In addition to individualized tutoring, this month’s enrichment and hands-on learning included homemade helium balloon science projects, salsa making cooking classes, and group games like Four Corners. Students participating in weekly book clubs continued to increase their vocabulary and English language idioms through reading and discussing books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid Hard Luck, Pictures of Hollis Woods, Dot, Cactus Soup and Our California.

Adult Programs
This month was a celebratory month for all Adult programs.  A mother in the Adult Community Program, whose son also has a tutor and comes to FLIC, passed her Citizenship Exams and officially became a U.S. Citizen.  She and her tutor have been meeting once a week for six months to achieve this goal!

Families For Literacy
A single mother of four passed her final GED test.  She and her tutor met multiple days and many hours each week using a technique that has worked for other Spanish-speaking learners.  While the learner took the five GED exams in Spanish, she and her tutor (who speaks no Spanish) worked in English GED and comprehension-building materials.  Project READ’s mission is to help learners meet their goals in the most comfortable way possible.  For this learner, she improved her English literacy skills and test-taking strategies to take an exam in a language she felt more comfortable with.  We applaud her for such a big accomplishment.

Adult Inmate / FFL
Project READ staff received a letter from a learner who participated in the Fathers and Families Nonviolent Parenting program at the Maguire Correctional Facility in September of 2013.  This particular learner was not in regular contact with his children, for the relationship had been strained by incarceration.  Part of the Fathers program is that graduates record themselves reading a children’s book and send the book, CD, and a message home to their children.  Apparently this gesture opened the door for communication between this incarcerated parent and his children.  The learner subsequently went to state prison.  In the letter we received this month, he writes:

Because of the letters I wrote my daughters while I was [in county jail], we are now in constant communication, and now my 16 year old has someone she can dump all of her problems. That she trusts I won’t judge her. I love it!!

My kids are really proud I’m getting my GED. In fact it might be the only thing stopping [my 16-year-old daughter] from dropping out [of high school].

FLIC/FFL/Families In Partnership
During this month’s Story Hour at the Downtown Library, four learners and three tutors in the Families in Partnership (FIP) Program were honored by a local State Farm office because of their participation in a writing contest. Students were asked to read a biography about someone who inspired them and write a short passage. All the students and tutors were given a gift card for their participation. A grand prize was given to one of the pairs because their story not only talked about how inspirational Martin Luther King was, it also discussed how they hope to one day make a difference in their community. During the presentation, the local State Farm representatives thanked everyone at Project READ for either volunteering their time or making a commitment to improve their literacy skills. It was a very joyous occasion, and we are grateful to State Farm for reaching out and encouraging students to try their best.  

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