In an effort to promote literacy among children, the Jumpstart program at CSUN implemented a program where volunteers read to young students every other Friday at Pacoima Library.
The program, Hooray Library! began in November of last semester as an extension of the activities conducted by Jumpstart volunteers, who promote early literacy in preschools serving economically disadvantaged kids.
“We wanted to extend what (volunteers have) been doing in the classrooms to the greater area where children were really in need,” said Danielle Watson, coordinator of the CSUN Jumpstart program.
Volunteers visit more than six classrooms in the San Fernando Valley and implement innovative curriculum, focusing on language and literacy skills.
Among schools visited by CSUN students include Tulsa Elementary School, Granada Hills Head Start, Roscoe Canyon Head Start Pre-School and LeMay Elementary School.
Hooray Library! volunteers read a specific book to children each week and conduct activities related to the readings to make the stories come alive. Participants usually range in age from three to five years old.
Volunteer coordinator, Deisy Barajas, came up with the concept for the program. She called public libraries in the valley and found the library in Pacoima didn’t have any events for children.
“We saw this as an opportunity for us to bring in the Jumpstart team,” said volunteer Rhea Triñanes, 23, child and adolescent development major.
Volunteers say they enjoy the program and find it rewarding.
“The best part for me is seeing the smiles on the children’s face,” said volunteer Dennisha Wade. (They’re) so grateful and happy that we’re there. It’s the main reason I keep coming back.”
While volunteers participating in the program may have fun, volunteers encountered challenges in the earlier stages of program implementation.
“It was really hard to get them off their computers because at the library a lot of children were on the computer and families are hesitant,” said volunteer Shirley Vien, 22, family studies and child administration major. “So the beginning is kind of hard for us to really gather everybody, but once we get a couple of people (in it), more people are interested.”
Maintaining a consistent number of participants was also difficult, according to Wade.
“In the beginning, we were ranging anywhere from 10 to 30 children each visit,” Wade said.
For others, the end of Hooray Library! sessions at Pacoima Library is one of the harder aspects of the program.
“Leaving would have to be the most challenging part,” said volunteer Raymond Buford, 21, liberal studies major. “We have so much fun when we are there that it seems like time is flying by.”