Monday, August 11, 2014

July Accomplishments

July Accomplishments 2014

This July, Project READ learners and tutors were honored at our Annual BBQ & Awards Ceremony. Over 300 learners, tutors, families and community members attended this year’s BBQ & Awards Ceremony! Making this event a success was a collaborative effort, and we so appreciate the 55 volunteers who dedicated their time and talents. These dedicated folks assisted on Friday with set up and preparation and then also on Saturday in a myriad of jobs that truly made the day a memorable experience!

As guests arrived bearing potluck dishes, our festive welcome committee, decked out in elaborate crustacean costumes, pointed them on their way. Families looked on in awe as they saw the CommunityActivities Building at Red Morton Park, transformed into an under-the-sea wonderland. The decorations were created throughout the year by Project READ’s youth, both learners and tutors, and many adult volunteers who wanted to make this celebration of community and accomplishment special and memorable.

As families walked amidst giant sea turtles, jellyfish and rainbow fish, they had the chance to meet and greet some of the members of the Redwood City Friends of Literacy who were handing out inflatable fish to take home. They then got to participate in the "Guess How Many Fish..." game. The highlight though was when each family received their very own hardbound copy of Wow Ocean!, and also selected books for each individual to take home for continued summer reading fun!

Families then encountered a life size whale that joined them for their family portraits. Children and adults enjoyed several thematic crafts that helped build fine motor and sequencing skills. Once outside, some families lounged under the trees listening to the festive mix of music provided by DJ Tim, others enjoyed the opportunity to get their faces painted, eat cotton candy, or try their hand at beanbag and quarterback toss. Children and adults also participated in the outdoor relays, capture the flag, steal the bacon and parachute games. Our last game though, drew only children and there wasn't a dry kid in the park after we finished with duck, duck, sponge!

However, the most exciting part of the day was when the crowd was introduced to the newest recipients of the Spirit of Project READ award! We recognized nine recent high school graduates who have given back to their community through their service at Project READ.

Teen Tutor Award Recipients
Youth, particularly teens and tweens, play an integral part of our Project READ community, as learners, family members and tutors. This year alone over 100 teens actively tutored in our Project READ programs. Among them these teens have stood out due to their years of dedication, hours of commitment and by their own personal achievements. In addition to their own school work, after-school jobs, internships, volunteer projects and family obligations, these young people managed to dedicate their own time to help tutor and mentor younger students. Some of these teens have tutored in multiple youth programs through Project READ; most continued to tutor even through the summer. We have watched these students grow into transformative members of this community, truly future leaders. Many of these teens have been a part of Project READ since they themselves were little ones being tutored in our programs or watching mom or dad being tutored. They then took the initiative to become tutors themselves. Now they are preparing to go off to college, most the first in their families to do so. In the fall they will be heading off to Foothill College, the College of San Mateo, CaƱada College, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, Linden College and Cal Poly. The crowd, including Redwood City’s Mayor, Jeffrey Gee, was thrilled to congratulate these exceptional youth who truly exemplify the Spirit of Project READ!

Summer FLIC
This month close to 30 K-4th graders were paired with 30 Teen Tutors during our week-long summer program. The theme of the week this year was California, so students learned about history, facts and geography related to California. As a whole group, the students experimented with earthquakes, learned about the Gold Rush, cooked with locally grown and distributed foods. In this literacy-based program, students took part in many varied enrichment activities, ranging from science experiments to cooking projects.

Each day students worked in small groups, as well as with their one-in-one match to work on reading, math, science, health-literacy, technology and educational game play. Sessions were set up as whole group and small group learning, with learning stations that varied throughout the day. Students started the week off learning about CA state facts, and then traveled through history to learn about the Great Earthquake and migrant workers, gold mining and more. Each day students broke into small groups for a short book club, reading together a California themed book. As a whole group students created an edible map of the state, using CA based foods to represents the physical features of the state.  Each group presented information about different California cities and taught their peers about their city. We ended the week with a California carnival, which started with a scavenger hunt around the library and ended with food, dessert and an awards ceremony.

After the three-hour program ended each day, the teens were invited to stay on for another hour of Teen Hour. During this time, teens honed their tutoring skills, previewed games and crafts for the next day, prepared food for their little learners and worked on team building. Many of our teens volunteered 20 hours of time to Project READ in that week alone.

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