Our History

6499535981_1f7489b696_zThe Story of Beginning…

 

Roxanne Dyck (staff; founder) discovered that children’s books are beautiful, fabulous, and poignant…all while trying to keep her extremely active first child from tearing her house apart. She discovered that her daughter could channel her energy, intensity and imagination into an engaging story, all the while having a shared experience with mom and being exposed to great art and print, over and over – some roots to becoming literate. Skill-building, imagination-blossoming, relationship-building…who knew that reading together could be so great?! Reading together became treasured times to look forward to, because of all the great stories they were looking forward to discovering and experiencing, and because of the trusting, open bond forged between mother and child through those times.

 

When her second child came along, he automatically wanted to be part of the read-aloud times and started learning to read by age 3, simply due to opportunity and exposure. He wanted to be part of their literate community, connecting and being in on what they were discovering, and trying his hand at figuring out reading skills. The more Roxanne thought about it, the more convinced she became that if her kids could read, her kids would be empowered to learn, discover, and communicate for their whole lives.

 

Since then she and her husband, Dwayne, have discovered that many kids in Brandon need support to keep developing in both their motivation and skills in literacy. They held consultation meetings with local teachers, principals, CFS workers, preschool teachers, librarians and book store owners who expressed concern for some kids who needed more time, opportunity, exposure, resources and/or support to keep developing. Since 2009, they along with countless others have worked to provide some of what they ensured for their own kids – a safe, caring place where literacy is valued, encouraged and engaged in together, with individualized support all along the way. Since their launch, they have worked with over 180 (check # and confirm) different students and had over 65 (check # and confirm) volunteers and countless cookie-bakers helping them do it.

Needs assessment and gaps in service

 

In our initial professional consultations, we discovered that:

 

  • Poverty affects youths’ exposure to print and print availability, which impacts their range of vocabulary
    • a literacy-rich environment is very important
  • The most impactful approach to impacting youths’ literacy is 1-on-1
    • a high ratio of adults to students is optimal
  • Some students simply need more time at it to progress in their literacy skills
    • giving regular time (more than once a week) can make a significant impact
  • After-school hours are some of the highest need for students due to least parent involvement and lack of positive social opportunities for some youth

A Chronology:

 

Year 1 (2009)

 

  • formed steering committee for literacy program
  • found grant money, tables, chairs, computers, books, supplies
  • first 8 kids & 9 volunteers
  • started drop-in style, then moved to theme-based, facilitated activities
  • worked out of the YFC Westman 10th Street facility – a newly-renovated building

 

Year 2

 

  • huge increase in interest, 32 kids wanting to be involved; we started with 24, with a waiting list

 

Year 3

 

  • started in one local school, in addition to 10th Street location
  • started summer programming trial

 

Year 4

 

Had programming in local school & 10th Street locations

 

  • started offering 3 workshops per year
  • continued summer programming, 5 weeks, with weekly field trips

 

Year 5

 

Started programming in 2nd local school

 

  • continued to offer 3 workshops per year
  • expanded summer programming to 7 weeks
  • offered Spring Break programming for the first time, 5 mornings
  • hosted first annual “Cheaters’ Scrabble” tournament, a program fund raiser
  • began development on website

 

Year 6

 

Started in 3rd local school

 

  • 3 workshops per year
  • Spring Break programming
  • 2nd annual “Cheaters’ Scrabble” fund raising tournament
  • launch of org