(Video of a Saturday reading program at our Pasadena STARS location; thanks to Donald Ung)
KRS students with Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard
Created in December 2008, the Kids Reading to Succeed (KRS) literacy program uses reading as an educational platform to empower at-risk youth in Pasadena, Altadena, and Los Angeles. KRS' mission is to partner with local non-profit organizations, community programs, and schools to collaborate on long-term literacy projects which will not only instill a love of reading in our students but also help them use literacy as a tool to succeed in school and beyond.
Presently, KRS works with several organizations: STARS (formerly Lake Avenue Community Foundation) at Villa 500, a city-funded community center in Pasadena, and Jackson Elementary, a public school in Altadena. We also have a partnership with the Union Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles and one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States. KRS' goals are three-fold: (1) to inspire and impart a love of reading in our youth; (2) to improve and develop their reading comprehension and analytical skills; and (3) to encourage our youth to succeed and rise above the challenges of their environment.
KRS students are in the first to sixth grades, ages 5 to 13. Our KRS volunteers meet with these students on the first Saturdays of each month. Students are encouraged to read aloud and discuss the reading material with their volunteers. Following the reading hour, the students work on a special themed project (in areas such as financial literacy, science, nutrition, and the law) which tests their reading comprehension and analytical skills. KRS also brings in special guest speakers such as government officials, scientists, chefs, lawyers, and journalists, among others, to demonstrate, first-hand, how literacy and education go hand-in-hand to help one succeed.
KRS has been gratified and greatly encouraged by the results of the program. Not only have the KRS youth markedly improved their reading skills, their love and enjoyment of reading is also more palpable.