Bringing youth Literacy For Life

Servicing hundreds of students across Carson City, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada aim to increase student success through their after school literacy program.

The program is utilized to supplement what students learn in the classroom, while also making learning fun in order to help students achieve student success throughout school.

“This literacy is important for the kids because we are here to provide that additional support outside of the classroom with fun incentives for learning because we aren’t a daycare or traditional afterschool program,” said Katie Leao, director of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

The program, run by Alyson Christl, is meant to help the school district’s Read by 3 program so all 9-year-olds can read by the third grade and to help students improve their reading and writing comprehension skills so they can succeed in post-secondary education or a career.

“The goal is for kids to make it through graduation successfully and to go onto higher learning,” Leao said. “We want them to be successful and enhance what they do in school, just in a different way because the kids can come together unlike in the school setting.”

The elementary and middle school students have to read a certain number of books in a month, use games for their reading skills and the older students can tutor the younger students. At the Teen Center, they focus on getting students ready for college level English and succeeding in their current English classes.

The literacy program also helps students so they can complete their required reading for school at the Boys and Girls Clubs and enjoy their evening time at home.

“The school district has the students complete 30 minutes of reading in the evening and we help with that so they can do all their homework here with us,” Leao said “This way they can just go home and enjoy their family time.”

The program also offers the students incentives to make reading more enjoyable. The kids can earn things like pizza parties and their names on a board in the center to provide students with a reason to work hard.

“The literacy program gives them something in addition to out of school time and supplements their learning and makes it fun so it doesn’t feel like they’re back in school,” Leao said.

“Its fun and they really benefit.”

To help offset the cost of the program, the Nevada Appeal will donate funds from its seventh annual Literacy for Life Golf Tournament to the program. The annual tournament took place last Friday at Toiyabe Golf Club in Washoe Valley.

The tournament helps bring in money for the program to buy supplies such as new books, new technology and the reading incentives.

Leao said they’re so grateful for the community coming together to support their program.

“To have the support like we have from the Nevada Appeal and the support and donations for the community, it gives us better technology and programs so the kids can truly be successful,” Leao said. “It shows the commitment in this community that so many people step up in the last years… because they understand the commitment to youth programs we have.

“It means a lot to us that organizations come out because it gets awareness out there about the great things the Boys and Girls Club does.”

She said they wouldn’t be able to grow the programs within the clubs without the generosity of the community.

“People are so generous and they understand the importance to support and give consistently and we are so grateful,” Leao said. “We couldn’t grow at the rate we do and we couldn’t provide to the kids what they need the most.”

The average daily attendance at the main clubhouse is about 450 children who attend three or more days a week, and nearly 700 children at the school sites in Carson.

“When you think of each school and what the district provides with our after school programs, it is pretty crazy,” Leao said. “We can offer these cool programs that are unique to after school care. Education is our number one priority to be successful, and to have fun while learning should be a part of it.”


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