I write this letter to share with you on how the Love not Fear grants funds were utilized for.
The $10,000.00 grant from the Latino Community Foundation were used to support an online reading hub for 40-3rd and 4th grade Latino students from McKinley Elementary School in East San Jose, CA.
This past July, we collaborated with Aspire Education based in Oakland, CA. For 15 years, Aspire Education has been the Bay Area’s leader in effective supplemental education programming. By gathering a small community of educators stocked with content expertise, Aspire has been able to create and deliver real results to thousands of Bay Area students with effective programming in the Oakland area. They have served over 15,400 students, but none in Silicon Valley. SWACSV wanted to bring this terrific program to our Silicon Valley region being that there are so many children who could use the extra help.
Over 8 weeks, 36 McKinley 3rd & 4th graders received one-on-one literacy-based mentoring from well trained, passionate teen volunteers. During the summer when parents and educators were concerned about learning loss, the students in our program demonstrated six months of literacy progress! These students participated in over 600 hours of reading and literacy activities. Out of the 36 students, 16 of them made significant growth in reading ( See graph). To keep with Shop with a Cop’s philosophy of building bridges between law enforcement and the community, uniformed police officers from various police agencies participated in a “read aloud” event. The children were thrilled to see officers so engaging and animated. It definitely helped change the optics. At the end of the 8 weeks, we raffled off some new bikes as a reward to the students who participated in this 8-week reading program.
When the students returned to “live “classroom instruction, the teacher was impressed by the accomplishments and the preparation they had gained.
100% of the parent respondents would recommend community reading buddies to others and rate this program as “excellent.”
On a personal note, I cannot begin to tell you how challenging it has been for our Latino-led non-profit to raise the critical funds for this enrichment program. Many grant funders we sought support from turned us down. We almost gave up. LCF came through for us.
We owe the Latino Community Foundation deep gratitude for believing in us and investing in our Latino youth.
We look forward to continuing this program and replicating it to other schools in San Jose.
Yours in Community Service,