Not many students experience the rewards that come with giving and receiving for a good cause. Cecilia Mireles Caballero, is one of the lucky individuals who has. Cecilia is a freshman at Loy Norrix who is involved with various extracurricular programs, including PeaceJam. However, before her time here at Norrix, she attended Edison Elementary, and was one of the students involved in the Literacy Project.
Now, along with her PeaceJam work, she is an active participant in the Literacy Project. The Literacy Project initiative is designed to increase student literacy and make reading a fun activity, and it involves high school students who travel to various KPS elementary schools and read with 4th and 5th graders to help them with reading.
“We go to a school like Edison and you read to the student you’re assigned to.. “The goal of Literacy Project is to get younger readers to enjoy reading instead of seeing it as a task for school,” explained Caballero.
According to the website “ProLiteracy,” of adults who can’t read, 43 percent live in poverty and 70 percent of adult welfare recipients have low literacy levels. The Literacy Project helps to solve this by going to schools that are in higher poverty areas to boost reading levels. This is done by inspiring a love for reading and will in turn increase the academic success of younger KPS students.
“My favorite memory was meeting the PeaceJammer who would be reading to me because they were so nice. It was such a big surprise.”Cecilia continued, “When you’re younger you look up to the older kid who comes in and reads to you. Now the kids look up to you. It feels nostalgic really, remembering you were a kid like them once,” Caballero continued.
Sveri May, organizer of Peace Jam and director of the Literacy Project, is very excited to have not only a new project member but also someone who truly knows how positively the literacy project impacts students
“Literacy project has added so much more to conversation about being a good student,” said May. “It opens the door to success in life through comprehension but we do it all in such a fun way.”
May stresses the importance of the Literacy Project to all of her volunteers
“It’s done so much more than improve reading. It improves behavior, attendance and grades amongst the students we help,” said May.
May credits the success of the Literacy Project to the dedicated work of the volunteers.
“To have someone like Cecilia with us, it’s amazing to know we’ve gone full circle. It’s so great she’s going to be able to help 4th graders of her own,” said Sveri May through teary eyes. “When you give the gift of reading, you give them help in every aspect of their lives.”