The Georgia Literacy Commission (GLC) was formed after a Deloitte study revealed the potential crisis looming for Georgia’s businesses that are struggling to identify an educated and literate workforce for jobs now and in the future.
- The study found 1 in every 6 workers in the state is “low literate,” or can’t read well.
- Over one million Georgians lack basic literacy skills.
- Low literacy in the workplace costs Georgians $1.3 billion annually.
As a result, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and Literacy For All have partnered to create the GLC. A subcommittee, the Housing Authority Literacy Taskforce, was formed to create a toolkit that housing authorities, private developers, landlords and apartment communities can use to boost literacy among their residents. Star-C’s executive director, Audrea Rease, and a very active board member, Dan Smith, are on the task force to share best practices and determine strategies landlords can leverage. The tool kit will provide communities with several ways to improve literacy through certain programs that serve financially disadvantaged families. Star-C and Willow will be used as a model in the toolkit. Star-C and Willow have already shown how operating an after-school program such as ours can reduce turnover, increase educational achievement outcomes, improve school district ratings, all while the community provides rental rate stability for residents. This team has hopes that literacy tool kit will impact the lives of both landlords and the residents, as a result creating success stories, funding models, suggested practices, sample programs and ideas on how to get the program started in communities around the state.
February is known an National Children’s Dental Health month. We decided to bring awareness by offering the kids who participate in the Star-C after-school program “a day at the dentist” on site at Willow Branch Apartments. A good friend, Dentist and Orthodontist, Dr. John Clinebell volunteered his services to give our kids some insight on why dental health is so important. Dr. Clinebell gave a presentation and taught the kids why we brush our teeth and the proper way to brush our teeth. His lesson also included a game where the kids identified different foods and if that item was good or bad for their teeth. As Dr. John Clinebell ended his lesson, he allowed the kids to tap into their creative side. They participated in a project where they had a chance to decorate new cups that would hold their new toothbrushes. This project encouraged the kids to reflect their personality as well as create something that will keep them excited about practicing the new dental health skills they just learned, daily.
Star-C Programs is always honored to benefit from surrounding schools and other organizational programs that take pride in giving back to the community. Recently, the Ben Franklin Academy’s Philanthropy Club supported us by hosting a book drive. The book drive was led by Adele McLees, who is a senior at Ben Franklin Academy and a frequent volunteer at Star-C’s afterschool program. Working together, the Philanthropy Club members collected 100’s of books. The book drive started back in October 2017, shortly after our very own Audrea Rease, Executive Director, paid a visit to the Philanthropy Club at the Ben Franklin Academy. She shared with them the story of who Star-C Programs serves and what Star-C Programs offer to the community.
For many of the children enrolled in our afterschool program, English is not their first language, so these books will be very beneficial. Once they complete their homework, they can choose a book to read, which helps them to strengthen their English language skills.
In addition to collecting the books, some members of the Ben Franklin Academy Philanthropy club spent the afternoon with the kids, helping with homework and reading aloud to them as they sat in small groups, eager to hear the stories and see the illustrations that went along with the book.
We greatly appreciate Ben Franklin Academy’s efforts and the support of the broader community for Star-C’s after-school program. They give us the tools to keep investing in our children’s education, allowing them to become more successful.
Each year on January 15th, we have the honor of being able to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., across the globe. As a result, the Star-C after-school program took part in the celebration, by highlighting the life and the key philosophies that Dr. King left behind. Through an event Star-C participated in during the summer called “Peace Playground,” coordinated by our after-school director, Allie, and the Northlake Church of Christ, the children revisited the principle of peace advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King. The children demonstrated their understanding of each principle with their creative expressions in the forms of art, dance, singing. During past “Peace Playground” events, the children created banners, which highlighted what they learned from the principles that day. This time the following peace principles, “a loving community makes a peaceful world,” “fight bad things, not bad people,” “be peaceful when others are not because that is the peaceful world we want,” “be peaceful on the outside and inside,” and “the whole world is on the side of justice,” were reenacted through a play put on by the Star-C kids. The children also made a new mural honoring the Civil Rights movement, and the mural will hang in the after-school area all year.
Although school was out for the children at the Star-C after school program on this day, they all took full advantage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to celebrate by demonstrating their own understanding of what Dr. King fought and died for, for this country. They all expressed how exciting it was to bring “Peace Playground” back for this day, and they look forward to more “Peace Playground” events in summer camp later this year!
Thank you to everyone who attended the last Star-C Programs Monthly Breakfast!
Star-C Programs hosts a monthly breakfast at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, where we convene community, business and government leaders to discuss our efforts to improve education with affordable housing. Last week, approximately 50 leaders joined us for our first breakfast of 2018 to talk about how we can work together to move the needle on these issues.
Representatives from Georgia Power’s Energy Assessment & Solutions Program (EASP) also attended. The EASP is designed to assist income-eligible customers with energy savings through education and *free* home efficiency improvements. This program has generated big utility bill savings for the residents of Willow Branch! More info can be found at www.georgiapower.com/EASP . For multifamily property qualifications and program eligibility, please contact 833-347-5433.
Click here to register for our next breakfast on February 22. Everyone is welcome to attend!
We can’t keep all this exciting press to ourselves! Star-C Programs and our founder, Mary Stagmeier, continue to be recognized as examples to the community on how “housing can be a positive pathway to achieving better school outcomes.”
On a Friday afternoon, Linda Jacobson of EducationDIVE visited Willow Branch Apartments in hopes of seeing how the Star-C Programs work on a day to day basis. Jacobson learned the after-school program consists of 80 children, where Allie Reeser, the program director, conducts study sessions to help with homework, practicing skills, or on that day, she treated the kids to watching an educational movie called “Because of Winn Dixie.” In the article, Linda Jacobson explains how Marjy Stagmeier realized the relationship between education and housing and how these two impact the overall school performance and the performance of the children within these schools. To learn more about how Stagmeier plans to conquer the issue, check out the full article in EducationDIVE.
It’s the season of giving, and you can keep it simple on Giving Tuesday by giving a gift that truly matters.
Today, help celebrate Giving Tuesday by donating to the Star-C Programs. Your donation will help to expand, as well continuing to improve the after-school, wellness and gardening programs here at Star-C Programs. Through our programs we will continue to focus on the building of healthier communities!
Your Giving Tuesday donation can be made via https://www.paypal.me/Starcprograms
Thank you for your support, as you are helping to improve the lives of the residents in our communities, and we truly appreciate you on this Giving Tuesday!