Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Project READ May 2014 Accomplishments

Project READ Family Literacy Instructional Center TEENS

The end of the year is an exciting time here at Project READ, as we watch some of our long-term learners and tutors graduate from middle school and high school.
This year, 10 of our teen tutors are graduating and all heading off to four year- and community colleges. They will be greatly missed, but their impact is lasting.

This past semester we had 45 active teen and preteen tutors in our Family Literacy Center youth tutoring program, totaling 860 hours of tutoring and mentoring.  Over the past school year these teen and preteen tutors dedicated over 2,000 hours of community service as youth tutors at Project READ. These young people are modeling positive learning experiences, the value of community service and a love of literacy to our youngest learners. Their dedication is exemplified through the astounding number of hours that these students have committed to Project READ.  As a result seven of our outstanding teens were awarded the Sequoia Award for community service, several other teens have been awarded internships, scholarships and grants for their hours of community service. Congratulations to all of our graduating Seniors!!! We’re excited to see what amazing futures they will have.

Joy (Learner & Teen Tutor), Maryanne (Tutor), Cesia (Learner & Teen Tutor)

FLIC/FFL Story Hour
This past month over 60 Project READ learners, families and friends gathered together to take part in Story Hour. Students crafted along side community volunteers and HOBA volunteers. Children created gifts for their mothers in honor of Mother’s Day, using recycled and household items, so that these preliteracy crafts could be replicated at home and shared together with their families. “Off We Go To Mexico,” was our family book, given to each family that attended. The children’s band, Cotton Candy Express performed for our families, which included students getting on stage with the band, playing instruments and singing along. It was an evening enjoyed by all.

Book Club
This month our community partners, the Junior League, helped us offer two book clubs for our youngest learners, which served approximately 25 students. Our middle school tutors also helped by taking part in reading along with the chosen book and assisting the young students with the theme-based craft.  Students were able to take home a new book each Book Club to build their home library and take part in a related pre-literacy craft. Siblings and friends read alongside their tutors in a round table format.

Kids In Partnership:
Teen Tutor Trip to UC Santa Cruz & Beach Boardwalk
After polling our teen tutors, we found that the majority this year were interested in visiting UC Santa Cruz (this included two seniors who had been admitted and were deciding whether or not to enroll, but who had not yet visited the campus due to family constraints). Thirty-two teens gave up a whole day of spring break to travel to the campus! Project READ staff and UCSC alum, Cassandra, led a tour of the campus and fielded questions. The teens also enjoyed lunch at an on-campus eatery and then spent a few hours relaxing and having fun at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!

KIP Tutors and Learners Celebrate Their Year of Hard Work
As the school year approaches its end, KIP pairs and small groups took the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with an outdoor spring carnival. Over 70 youth participated in two days of good old-fashioned fun including potato sack races, picture decorating, beanbag toss and a sponge-ball relay! Students also exchanged heart-felt notes and well-wishes in the “friends and memories” section of the annual KIP science and cooking project book. One KIP mom reported that her daughter regularly takes over the kitchen to make the recipes for her family. Mom’s favorite so far is the smoothie that her daughter made for the whole family!

KIP Award Night
KIP pairs and small groups had the opportunity to celebrate all of their hard work and accomplishments at our annual KIP Award Night! Over 150 students, tutors, and family members gathered at the Fair Oaks Cafeteria to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the KIP participants.  Lori and RJ of Cotton Candy Express kicked the evening off with a group sing-along. In fact, one of our most timid, first-grade students, took our breath away when she volunteered to sing along to Disney’s Let it Go. Not only did she know every word, but she sang it beautifully and then beamed when the whole cafeteria erupted in applause for her!

Teen tutors presented each learner with a handmade, personalized award certificate highlighting their specific contributions and accomplishments during this KIP year. Likewise, staff presented each tutor with a custom-made award as a small token of our appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Teen Tutors Reflect on a Year of Service
Below are some of the tutors’ reflections on their experiences in KIP this year:

"I love being able to build that relationship with my learner and I’m proud that I was able to help my partner get out of her shell."

"As a teen tutor, I have learned how to help kids without giving them the answer...I have loved seeing my student improve over the past two years."

 “I helped my learner learn how to do math in a different way." 

"I love getting to know all f the kids and helping them with their work. I like the community and appreciation I feel when I come to KIP.” 

“I have learned how to successfully teach reading comprehension and math. I have also learned how to approach difficult situations and talk to the learners in a respectful way.”

All in all, the KIP teen tutors contributed over 1500 hours of community service to the KIP program this school year!

Project READ - Adult Literacy Computer Lab:
We had 8 new adult learners to Project READ who have committed to working on their literacy skills using Lexia - Reading S.O.S, a phonics based reading program and Rosetta Stone to build vocabulary and grammar skills. Of our adults waiting for a one-on-one match,many now regularly come in to work on building their skills; in May they logged in over 139 hours of computer use.

Families In Partnership:
As we are approaching the summer we have a lot to celebrate in the Families in Partnership Program. We presented the participants of our Sequoia High School SAFE/Project READ partnership pilot program with awards for their dedication and hard work throughout the year. The end of the year reading assessments showed great educational strides for our Kindergarten learners! The learners averaged an increase of 2.0 reading levels over a six-month period! Our tutors expressed great gratification and shared their favorite parts of the program in their exit interviews.
Some of the quotes are:
“Seeing how my learner changed, he went from being shy to more talkative and comfortable” 
“The fact that I was able to have a relationship with my learner. I looked forward to it every week.”
We were excited to learn that most of the tutors and learners are interested in returning next year.  This new partnership has been a great addition to our duel intervention youth programming.

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