Saturday "Combatting Iliteracy" Exploration
On Saturday, January 24th, the Youth Fellows in the Coro Exploring Leadership Program participated in their fifth Saturday Exploration by learning about the issue of "illiteracy" and strategies for addressing it in their communities. The students spent the day at the Children's Day School, a preschool-8th grade school in the Mission District of San Francisco.

In the morning, the Youth Fellows engaged in activities to learn about the staggering facts related to illiteracy and discussed the reasons that California has the highest illiteracy rate of any state in the US. They were then trained as reading coaches by staff members of the non-profit early childhood literacy organization called Jumpstart. During the interactive training, they practiced reading the children's book Corduroy using a diologic reading method.

In the afternoon, the Youth Fellows then applied this training during the "Passport to the World” Read-a-thon where they read stories about different cultures and countries with K-4th graders from the Children's Day School. The "Read-a-thon" was an amazing event that forged a wonderful connection between the Youth Fellows and the CDS students. As one CDS student expressed,”This is the best day ever! I will be so sad when it ends.”

In between "Read-a-thon" sessions, the Youth Fellows interviewed Leon Veal, Outreach Coordinator for Project Read who told his motivational story about overcoming his illiteracy at the age of 44. They also interviewed Elizabeth Kohoutz, intern at 826 Valencia and learned about the enriching literacy programs that 826 provides the community.

The Youth Fellows then taught back what they learned during their interviews in the form of a persuasive pitch and incorporated illiteracy facts and quotes from the day to persuade their peers to volunteer with either 826 Valencia or Project Read.

The day left the Youth Fellows ready to take action to address the issue of illiteracy. They will be doing so by volunteering with Jumpstart as reading coaches at their Family Literacy workshops in February.

We would like to thank Rebecca Kroll, Assistant Head of CDS and Coro alumna, for allowing us to use their incredible school facility and for organizing a fun and engaging "Read-a-thon". A huge thank you to all of the CDS students who participated in the day's event. Your love for learning and excitement about reading truly inspired our Youth Fellows.

We'd also like to thank Christina, Hagar, and Mary from Jumpstart for leading a very informative training. Also, a special thank you to Leon Veal and Elizabeth Kohout for volunteering their time as interview guests.

You all made our Saturday "Combating Illiteracy" Exploration an inspiring and informative day!
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