2017 Trinidad State News

Group commits to literacy in Alamosa

Valley Campus / February 23, 2016 / Courtesy Valley Courier

The new Alamosa Literacy Council got more than it bargained for when it set out to create the town’s first StoryWalk® for local children.

Not only did the group of 28 local leaders and parents raised $8,100, but it also gained the support of a new local partner that will help cut costs dramatically. Now with volunteer construction help from Trinidad State Junior College and donations from Alamosa Stock Building Supply, the group plans to use the money raised to create not one, but two walkable storybook installations.

“It just goes to show the power a community can have when it joins together to support children’s literacy,” said Save the Children’s Azeneth Heredia, who helped organize the council this past fall. “The more we come together to help our kids learn to read and love to read, the brighter future they and our whole community will have.”

Heredia says this community-based approach to supporting local children has been enthusiastically embraced by the council’s diverse group of council members. Formed this past October, the council includes school and library staff and administrators, elected officials, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, business owners and managers and local parents.

Council members have already helped distribute many new children’s books through the community, including 2,000 given away at Alamosa Elementary School’s Parent/Grandparent Night last fall.

Now the group is excited to help make reading a fun, interactive and active event that families and the whole community can enjoy at their leisure. The original plan to install a StoryWalk® at City Hall has now grown to include a second one at the Alamosa Elementary School. Each StoryWalk will consist of 32 aluminum and glass cases that will display the pages of a children’s book. The story selections will change quarterly.

Future plans include creating designated children’s reading corners around the community and more book distributions, Heredia said.

Heredia, who helps manage Save the Children’s literacy programs at Alamosa Elementary School, said Save the Children joined together with another literacy-focused nonprofit, Reach Out and Read, to secure a federal grant that would support a community-based approach to children’s literacy. The grant also helps support an early education home visiting program, local doctor’s efforts to prescribe books and local early-literacy focused parent/child groups.

Now the literacy council is helping build even greater community participation and support for children’s literacy.

“I’m really excited to see where this council and the whole community take these efforts going forward,” said Heredia. “The more we support our young readers early in life, the more likely they are to succeed in school and beyond. It’s really motivating to know that we can all be part of their future success!”

There are still a few spots available for sponsorship for the StoryWalk. Individuals, businesses, agencies, or organizations who are interested in being a part of this community-wide project, please contact Azeneth Heredia at 719-480-5824 aheredia@savechildren.org or BillieJo Cooper at 719-480-0747.

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