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What We're Reading This Week

By Anya Alexander Feb. 20, 2015

Communities In Schools has served as a life line for many kids who encounter challenges that affect their ability to learn. There are so many fine examples of volunteers and community leaders who work to build trust, break down barriers and make a positive impact on communities. Whether it’s through mentoring programs or organizing a fun after school activity-- big or small, they all can make a difference in a child’s life. This week we’re reading about special initiatives that are helping students see and reach their full potential. 

The gift of music is changing the life of one student, in Jacksonville, Florida. Director Chris Murphy with Communities In Schools at Jacksonville  recognized that a little girl named Angeleah Wheeler, age 11, needed an outlet to help her overcome her struggle with Crohn’s disease which made it hard to focus on her studies. So Murphy decided to put Angeleah in 'Jump Start Strings', a program that provides Angeleah an opportunity to meet with not just an instructor, but a violinist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. According to the article, the music and mentorship struck a chord with Angeleah, her grades turned around and she began to love school and the music helped calm her Crohn's disease.

Did you know that children who read to dogs dramatically increase their reading and comprehension skills? Well students at Midway Elementary School are testing that theory through a program called, “Reading with Cupid and Friends”. The objective of the program is to provide a relaxed and dog friendly atmosphere for children less proficient in reading practice and improve reading fluency. According to Brad Parr, site coordinator at Communities In Schools at Milledgeville-Baldwin County, students chosen for the program have difficulties reading and as a result have developed self-esteem issues when it comes to reading aloud. Parr says the initiative helps students get excited about reading and they look forward to seeing the dogs. The program is in collaboration between the Georgia College Cupid Club, Communities In Schools at Milledgeville-Baldwin County, and the Baldwin County School District. Read more

In Tulsa, Police Officer Tim O’Keefe in partnership with Communities In Schools of Mid-America at Tulsa facilitates an after-school program that allows students to interact and build trust with officers. For many children, the program is their first non-confrontational meeting with a police officer. “We don’t want these kids running from us,” said O’Keefe. “We’d rather have them running with us or to us.” O’Keefe has facilitated a similar program at Kendall-Whittier Elementary School for several years. He said Communities In Schools of Mid-America at Tulsa hopes to expand those efforts to other schools. Read more